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a I E) RARY 



V. I 



% iokl. 






VOL. I. 



[All rights of Trantlation and Reproduction are Seserved.} 












. 1 



. 23 



. 57 



. 78 



. 97 



. 124 



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. 281 






KiNGSLOUGH at high noon was ordinarily the 
stupidest, dullest, dirtiest little town that 
could have been found in the Province of 
Ulster. On market and fair, and paii:y-pro- 
cession days, the inhabitants seemed to expend 
the whole of their strength. An almost un- 
broken calm ensued after wild excitement, 
a death-like stillness followed the shouts and 
cries of faction, the shrieks of drunken merri- 
ment, the shrill piping of fifes, the braying of 
trumpets, and the bang-banging of drums. 

Excepting on such and such-like festive 
occasions as those above enumerated, the town, 

VOL. I. B 

The EarVs Promise. 

figuratively speaking, looked as though it had 
gone to bed to sleep off the effects of its last 
excitement or debauch. 

In the bright sunlight it appeared like a 
place deserted by its population — a place rich 
in every natural beauty, which there was 
neither man nor woman to admire. 

So far as position was concerned, Kings- 
lough had nothing left to desire. Situated on 
an arm of the sea, the town, well sheltered 
from the wild north winds by hills and 
far-spreading plantations, nestled its houses 
snugly along the shore, while the blue waves 
rippled gently in over the red sandstone 

Nature had indeed done everything for the 
little watering-place, and man had, as is 
usually the case, done his best to spoil Nature's 

Seen from the sea Kingslough lay tranquil 
under its hills, the perfection of an artist's 
ideal ; but a nearer view dispelled this allusion, 
and it appeared to eyes from which the glamour 
was removed, just what it has already been 

Kingslough iiee Ballylough. 

described, the stupidest, dullest, dirtiest little 
town in Ulster. 

Here was no dark Moorish architecture, 
lighted up by the bright costumes and 
brighter eyes of the Galway women. Here 
were no fantastic houses, no picturesque sur- 
prises, no archways lying in deep shadow, no 
recessed and highly ornamented doorways, no 
rich carvings, no evidences of a wonderful and 
romantic past. Everything was straight, 
strictly utilitarian, mean. The best houses 
presented outwardly no sign of the amount of 
actual accommodation they contained. 

They were old, but they had not grown 
grey and softened with the lapse of years. 
The prevailing '^finish" amongst the better 
class of residences was paint or rough-cast, 
whilst the dwellings inhabited by the trad- 
ing and working members of the community 
were periodically covered '^with lime- white, 
which the rain as regularly washed off. 

The side-paths were uneven, the streets un- 
lighted, every sanitary regulation either un- 
born or in the earliest and weakest stage of 


The EarPs Promise, 

infancy. From a picturesque point of view 
the fishing-boats drawn up on the beach 
formed a pleasing foreground to a charming 
landscape, acceptable to the eye ; but the 
neighbourhood of these boats was disagreeable 
to the nose by reason of cods' heads, and 
other fishy matters, that lay decomposing in 
the sun. 

Time had been when Kingslough was 
known by a more distinctively Irish name, 
that of Ballylough, the A being pronounced 
very broad indeed, while a fine guttm-al sound 
was imparted to the *^ ough," — as indeed is 
still the case with the terminal letters in 

At that period, Ballylough was a very 
modest Bally indeed, and the lodgings it let 
in the boating season to strangers from Glen- 
wellan were of the most primitive description. 

The villa residences, the rows of terraces, 
the sea-wall, the grand promenade overlooking 
the bay, all of which now delight the eyes of 
tourists and others, had not yet emerged from 
the then future that has long since become the 

Kingslough nee Ballylough. 

The occasion on which the tiny sea-port 
came to be re-christened, was that of the first 
gentleman in Europe succeeding to the British 

Mighty things were, by certain people and 
classes in Ireland, expected to result from 
that event. 

His visit, when Prince of Wales, to the 
Isle of Saints had excited high hopes in the 
hearts of many of his Hibernian subjects. 

The liberalism exhibited by the heir ap- 
parent would, they felt satisfied, be brought 
into practice by the sovereign in remedying 
the wrongs of Ireland. 

The Eoman Catholics believed they should 
now have a friend and partisan in the highest 
places, able and willing to redress their griev- 
ances. The trading portion of the commu- 
nity, deceived by the fact of the honour or 
dishonour of knighthood having been conferred 
on a few Dublin shopkeepers, trusted the 
hour was at hand when commerce would be 
recognized as a power in Ireland ; and that a 
good time was coming, when money made in 

The EarVs Promise. 

mills and offices might be pleasantly spent in 
crushing the pride of those "aristocrats," who 
spite of their poverty persisted in holding a 
semblance of state on their unproductive acres, 
and extending such hospitality as their nar- 
row means permitted, solely and exclusively 
to those they considered born by God's 
grace in the same rank of life as them- 

As for the dissenters in the north, — that 
numerous and remarkable body to which suc- 
cessive monarchs and prime ministers have 
paid a curious amount of attention ever since 
the time of William the Third, who esta- 
blished that raison d'etre of many a shabby, 
poorly attended place of worship, the Eegium 
Donum — as for the dissenters they cherished 
a vague idea that, although his Most Gra- 
cious Majesty George lY. might be styled 
"Defender of the Faith,'' which was not in 
some respects exactly their faith, still the 
light of his glorious countenance would not 
impossibly be lent to them for the purpose of 
placing those who worshipped in meeting- 

Kingslough nee Ballylough, 

houses and other conventicles on a par, so- 
cially and pecuniarily, with their old enemy 
the Church as by law established. The la- 
bouring classes commonly cherished a con- 
viction that an immediate rise of wages must 
follow the coronation; in fact, amongst those 
of the Irish who wanted and hoped for any- 
thing, there was a noisy and expectant acces- 
sion of loyalty : and as a small evidence of 
this, the municipal rulers of Ballylough con- 
vened a meeting, at which with the almost 
unanimous consent of the inhabitants it was 
decided that for the future — 

^^The important sea-port town of Bally- 
lough, possessed of an almost natural harbour, 
situated on the direct route to America, in 
the centre of a supply of herrings practically 
speaking limitless, boasting a beach un- 
rivalled in the three kingdoms, and which 
presented facilities for bathing unsurpassed 
by any other watering-place, having like- 
wise in its immediate neighbourhood manu- 
factories of no mean extent " and so forth, 
should for the future be known to those whom 

8 The EarVs Promise, 

it miglit, and those whom it might not con- 
cern, as Kingslough. 

In liberal and democratic matters the rulers 
over the town were strong. Amongst others of 
less note may be enumerated a woollen-draper 
who in the course of a long and laborious life 
had made much money, and what was more to 
the purpose, kept it when made ; a certain sea- 
captain called Mullins, reputed to be worth nine 
thousand pounds, every sixpence of which he 
had made by smuggling ; an apothecary ; a Mr. 
Connor, who resided a little way out of the 
town, and who, possessing an income of one 
hundred and thirty pounds a year, did nothing, 
as his fathers had done before him. 

These men, being ardent lovers of their 
country, its traditions, Erian Baroihme, the 
Irish melodies (^^ Boyne "Water " and " Protes- 
tant Boys " excepted), illicit spirits, and the 
Old Parliament House on Stephen's Green, 
were, as might have been expected, up- 
roarious with delight when this graceful 
tribute to the virtues of their new monarch 
had been offered. 

Kings lough nee Bally lough, g 

From the demonstration, however, all those 
who belonged to the powerful though compara- 
tively small Tory party held resolutely aloof. 

They could generally, not always by ways 
and influence that would have borne the light, 
materially assist in sending one member for 
the countv at least to the House of Commons, 
but in local and municipal matters they were 

Ballylough was owned by the Earl of Glen- 
dare who to the disgust of Lord Ardmorne, 
his relentless political opponent, chanced to be 
ground-landlord of almost every house and 
public building the town contained. 

For centuries the Glendares had been con- 
nected with that part of the country. All 
those members of the family who died in any 
place reasonably accessible to Ireland were 
carried up a very steep hill overlooking Bally- 
lough, where among the ruins of Ballyknock 
Abbey the curious stranger could obtain an 
exquisite view over land and sea, and behold 
at the same time sheep nibbling the short 
sweet mountain herbage beside the family 

lo The EarPs Promise, 

vault which contained all that death had left 
of youth and beauty — of rank, wealth, and 
earthly consideration. 

It was a mighty strange contrast to meet 
Lady Glendare in her grand coach, a very 
Jezebel made up of pride, paint, deceit, extra- 
vagance and heartlessness, and then to toil up 
to that burying-place lying lonely among the 
desolate hills, and think of those women — 
once haughty and sinful, just like her, in life 
knowing no rest, making no happiness — who 
lay there mouldering into dust. 

At the time of George the Fourth's accession 
to the throne, Charles, the eighth Earl had not 
long succeeded to the title and estates of his 
father, and so far from objecting to Ballylough 
being changed into Kingslough gave the project 
his warmest support, being moved thereto by 
the reasons following. 

First, because he trusted his eldest son, no 
longer a young man, would sooner or later 
hold an appointment about the Court of the 
new monarch ; secondly, because a builder, 
who proposed the wild speculation of erecting 

Kingslough 7iee Bally lough, 1 1 

a terrace of houses, and was williug to pay a 
handsome sum down for a lease of nine hundred 
and ninety-nine years, signified his belief that 
houses, and land intended as sites for houses, 
would let better if the place were, as he ex- 
pressed himself, " given a fresh start ; " and 
thirdly, because he knew the change would 
annoy Lord Ardmorne. 

So the name was altered, and the town, 
after a sleepy, inconsequent sort of fashion, 
grew and prospered ; so that by the time this 
story commences, it had established for itself 
the name of a highly respectable, not to say 
aristocratic, watering-place. 

Travelling then was not what it is now. 
People did not go whisking about like comets ; 
a journey was attended with many discomforts ; 
the nearer home anxious mothers could obtain 
sea-bathing for their darlings, and change of 
air and scene for themselves, the better they 
were pleased ; and accordingly, in the season, 
Kingslough was crammed from parlour to attic, 
and even ladies who, having seen better days, 
spoke much about their papas and mammas, 

12 The EarVs Promise. 

and a radiant past which had once been theirs, 
did not disdain to let lodgings, or it might 
be to accept invitations during the summer 
months from various relations and friends, so 
as to leave their houses and furniture free for 
the use of Mr. and Mrs., or Sir and my Lady, 
at so much per month. 

But even in the season it was not a lively 
place. People went there to bathe, not to 
form acquaintances. Let Mrs. Murtock, wife 
of Murtock, the great distiller, don what 
gorgeous array she pleased, not even a glance 
could she win from one of the upper ten as 
they sat in church trying to look blandly un- 
conscious of her existence. 

People made no experiments in acquaint- 
anceship at Kingslough. The world, according 
to the then social gospel extant, meant the old 
stock and the new ; and whenever the new held 
out the right hand of fellowship to the old, it 
got, metaphorically speaking, so cruelly slapped, 
that the experiment was rarely repeated. 

Not a dweller in the Faubourg St. Germain 
was in reality one whit more bitterly proud 

Kingslough nee Ballylough, 13 

than those Irish ladies, so charming in their 
manners to high and low, to those on the same 
rung of the social ladder as themselves, and 
those at the foot of it ; but who refused to re- 
cognize even the existence of ^' such people " 
as the wives and daughters of men that could, 
to use the expression which frequently fell 
from their lips, have '^bought and sold" the 
lands and goods and chattels of the old stock 
without a misgiving as to where the money 
was to come from to compass so laudable a 

Altogether, unless a human being was ex- 
cessively fond of his own society and natural 
scenery, Kingslough could not have been 
accounted a desirable place in which to settle 
for life. 

Its aboriginal inhabitants— those, that is to 
say, who resided there all the year round, were 
principally a well-developed race of marvellously 
healthy, dirty, poor, ragged, happy children, 
shoeless and stockingless as regarded their legs 
and feet, soapless and combless as concerned 
their heads and faces. 

14 The EarVs Pro7iiise. 

From early morning till late at night these 
picturesque urchins held high revel in the 
gutters and along the side-paths of the poorer 
streets; scores of them disported themselves 
along the beach, wading out into the sea as 
far as their clothing — scanty enough, Heaven 
knows — would allow them, and when the sea, 
or tide as they called it, was out too far to be 
waded into, they pursued the entrancing 
amusement of hunting for crabs and peri- 
winkles on the sands. 

At intervals, shrill cries from some woman, 
got up in the costume of her class — a large 
white cap, with immense goiffured frills on 
her head, and a very small plaid shawl over 
her shoulders — shrieking for the return of her 
offspring, interrupted the pastimes indulged in 
by youth at Kingslough. 

Occasionally these cries from the parents 
were succeeded by bitter lamentations from 
the children, who were not unfrequently 
hurried back to the duties and realities of life 
by slaps, and threats of more serious punish- 

Kingslough nee Ballylough, 15 

Towards evening, young men and old men, 
who, following fishing as a profession, spent a 
considerable portion of the day in bed, ap- 
peared upon the scene. Stalwart weather- 
beaten men, attired in pilot- coats and sou- 
westers, they made their way to the shore, 
where great tub -like smacks lay waiting their 

These fishers were brave and patient ; kind, 
tender husbands to wives, who soon lost their 
good looks in that hard northern climate, and 
grew prematurely wrinkled and aged with the 
battle of life ; good sons to widowed mothers 
or aged fathers ; faithful lovers to girls who 
boasted exquisite complexions, tall, erect 
figures, and a wealth of beautiful hair rarely 
to be seen amongst their Saxon sisters ; a 
grand, sturdy, hard-working race, who feared 
God exceedingly, and went out in the wild, 
dark winter nights to war with the winds and 
the waves as undauntedly as though each sea- 
son did not leave some maid, or wife, or mother 

Next to the fishermen came the shopkeeper 

1 6 The EarVs Promise, 

class, who differed from each other as stars vary 
in magnitude, from Widow McCann, who set 
out her cottage-window with sweets, and cakes, 
and apples for the children, and who sold 
besides, halfpennyworths of everything that 
could possibly be sub- divided into that value, 
to Mr. IN'eill, proprietor of the shop of the 
town, a place where everything, from an ounce 
of tea to canvas for sails, from a boy's kite to 
a plough, could be procured at a moment's 

Mr. Neill at one time entertained ideas of 
making his way into drawing-rooms where 
only the elite of Kingslough society was to be 
found; but his pretensions being firmly and, 
truth to say, not over coui'teously repudiated, ^J 
he afterwards revenged himself by buying 
from the Encumbered Estates Commissioners a 
great property in Munster, where, though it 
was darkly rumoured that he once stood 
behind a counter, impecunious gentry — real 
gentry as the poorer classes call them — made 
friends with his sons and daughters, hoping 
that the marriage of blood with money might 

Kingslough nee Ballyloiigh. 17 

yet save the rusLy acres they lacked capital 
and energy to drain. 

Time has done wonders in Ireland. It has 
taught the ^'old stock" that if they want 
money, and unhappily they cannot do without 
it, they must tolerate the people who have 
been able to make money. 

But they do not like those persons yet, 
except as a means to an end ; and possibly the 
faculty of adding sovereign to sovereign and 
acre to acre is not exactly that calculated to 
render a man socially popular anywhere. 

The Kingslough upper ten held that opinion 
at any rate. They longed for Dives' posses- 
sions, but Dives himself they would have con- 
signed to a deeper hell than that mentioned in 
the parable, had their theology contained it. 

Above the shopkeepers ranked the manufac- 
turers, men who attended closely to their busi- 
ness, associated freely amongst themselves, and 
on the occasion of public dinners, meetings, 
and the like, were shaken by the hand by Lord 
Glendare, Lord Ardmorne, and the remainder 
of the elite of Kingslough. 

VOL. I. c 

1 8 The EarPs Promise. 

They did not presume on these privileges. 
Eesiding out of the town, they came little in 
contact with its inhabitants, and were content 
with such civilities as the worthies of Kings - 
lough thought fit to accord. 

If they could afford to keep good horses, 
their sons followed the hounds; and they 
generally were able to give dowi'ies to their 
daughters, when in due course of time they 
married men who likewise were connected 
with manufacture, either far off or near at 

They were select people, keeping themselves 
to themselves, marrying and intermarrying 
amongst their own class, neither meddling nor 
intermeddling with the affairs of their neigh- 

They gave employment and they paid good 
wages, and took care that neither their smoke 
nor their refuse caused offence to Kingslough. 

The town might claim them, but they did 
not claim the town. If they interfered in 
politics, and had strong opinions about the 
return of members for the county, it was but 

Kings lougk nee Bally lough. ig 

human and Irish. As a rule they were quiet 
enough, harmless as doves, busy with their 
own gathering and storing of honey as bees. 

Higher than the manufacturers, who ? Old 
maids and poodles. The Court Circle at 
Kingslough was composed almost entirely of 
ladies who wore fi'onts, and fat, snapping 
wretches of dogs who had too much hair of 
their own. The men belonging to these wo- 
men were dead, or serving the king in India, 
or captains on board men-of-war, or constabu- 
lary officers in remote parts of Ireland, or 
barristers in Dublin, or even it might be soli- 
citors in the same city, who had a large con- 
nection amongst the landed gentry and were 
learned in the mysteries of conveyancing. 

These men did not often visit Kingslough, 
but on the rare occasions of their coming, the 
sensation produced by their presence was pro- 

Kingslough rubbed its eyes, so to say, 
and woke up, and the opinions and facts then 
brought from the great and wicked world to 
that garden of Eden where so many elderly 


20 The EarPs Promise. 

Eves congregated, furnished conversation for 
years afterwards. 

In addition to the inhabitants already enu- 
merated, Kingslough reckoned amongst its 
gentry a clergyman, whose cure was four miles 
distant ; a curate, on whose shoulders devolved 
the spiritual responsibilities of a rector, who was 
continually absent from his flock; a colonel, 
who had never been in active service, but who, 
on the strength of his rank in the army, was 
so fortunate as to marry an English lady pos- 
sessed of a comfortable fortune ; a priest, the 
soul of good company ; a remarkably acute 
attorney. Lord Ardmorne's agent ; the police 
officer, and, may I add, the doctor ? 

Hardly. He attended all the population, 
gentle and sitnpie, and was popular alike 
amongst high and low. He knew the secrets 
of most households, was personally acquainted 
with the history and appearance of those ske- 
letons that do somehow contrive to get locked 
up in the cupboards of even the best regulated 
families; but he had sprung from the bourgeois 
class, he had relatives very low down in the 

Kingslough nee Ballyloiigh. 2 1 

worldly scale, he had friends whose existence 
and status could not be overlooked by old 
maids and old women of the other sex, and 
therefore, and for all these reasons he was 
socially only tolerated by his best patients. 

Curious stories he could have told concern- 
ing some of them — stories compromising the 
honour of many an ancient house, but his 
name had never been tarnished by any indis- 
creet confidence. 

Even to the wife of his bosom, a woman of 
an inquiring, not to say inquisitive turn of 
mind, who had as many wiles as a poacher, 
and changed her tactics as often as a fox, he 
presented an invulnerable front of lamb -like 

Trusting her ostensibly with everything in 
and out of his professional experience, he kept 
her in a state of actual ignorance, worthy of 
admiration in these latter days. 

The moment he started on his rounds in 
the morning, she started on hers — telling this, 
that, and the other as the most profound secret 
to each one of her acquaintances, who laughed 

2 2 The EarPs R 


at her when once she left the house — for had 
they not heard all she was able to communicate, 
and more, hours previously, from Molly the 
fish-wife, or Pat O'Donnel, one of the privi- 
leged beggars and newsmongers of the town ? 

So ends the list. If tediouo, it has been 
necessary to indicate the history of Kingslough 
and glance at the elite of Kingslough society 
in order to save stoppages by the way here- 

After this needful digression, let us revert 
to the first sentence in this story once again, 
and enter the stupid, dull, dirty little town of 
Kingslough at noon. 




Something had on that particular day, at that 
special hour occurred to disturb the customary 
serenity of Kingslough. Spite of the sun 
which flared upon the terrace, blinds were 
drawn up and heads thrust out. 

People stood in knots upon the Glendare 
Parade talking eagerly together, and looking 
down into the sea. At the doors of the houses 
in Main Street servants occupied the door-steps 
and gaped vaguely to right and left as though 
expecting the coming of some strange spectacle. 

In the middle of the horse-ways poodles, 
unexpectedly released from durance in stufiy 

24 The Eari's Promise. 

parlours, yelped at other poodles, and fought 
and ran or were carried away. The young 
ladies who attended as day-boarders that select 
establishment presided over by the Misses 
Chesterfield having been accorded a half-holi- 
day, came walking through the town to their 
respective homes, thereby adding to the tumult. 
Thundering double knocks resounded momen- 
tarily at the door of an insignificant- looking 
three-storey house on the parade, in the lower 
room of which a very old lady, feeble though 
voluble, sat wringing her hand, bemoaning 
her fate, and appealing in turn to each of 
her visitors to '^ do something.'' 

'^ They are turning the water out of Hay's 
mill-pond, and all the fishermen are down on 
the shore, and Colonel Perris has taken his 
groom and gardener to the Black-stream, and 
oh ! my dear friend, let us try to hope for the 
best," said Mrs. Lefroy, one of the annual 
visitors to Kingslough, acting with a wonder- 
ful naturalness the part of Job's comforter to 
the decrepit, broken woman she addressed. 

'-^ You may be quite sure, dear Miss Eiley, 

Where can she be? 25 

that everybody is doing their best," added 
Mrs. Mynton kindly, if ungrammatically. 

"And whatever may have happened," broke 
in the clergyman who did not reside in his 
parish, and never visited it save on Sunday 
mornings, "whatever may have happened I 
need not remind so thorough a Christian 

" How can you all be so silly as to frighten 
the poor old lady in this absurd manner," said 
a deep stern female voice at this juncture ; "the 
girl will come back safe and sound, never fear. 
Girls do not get murdered, or drowned, or 
kidnapped so easily at this age of the world ; 
she will return about dinner-time, if not before, 
mark my words." And the speaker a hard- 
featured woman of more than middle age, who 
possessed a kindly eye as well as decided 
manners, looked round the persons assembled 
as she finished, as though to inquire "Who 
is there amongst you that shall dare contradict 

For a moment there was silence, and then 
uprose a confused murmur of many voices — 

26 The EarVs Promise, 

amongst which one sounded shrill above the 

^'If ye think ye are in England still, Mrs. 
Hartley — " commenced the owner of that 
cracked treble in a brogue which made one at 
least of her auditors shiver. 

^^ Pardon me, Miss Tracey, I never indulge 
in day-dreams," interposed Mrs. Hartley, 
rustling across the room in one of those stiff 
black silks, which were at once the envy and 
the condemnation of feminine Kingslough, 
^^ but whether people are in England or Ire- 
land, I consider it very foolish to meet trouble 
half way. Particularly in this case, where I 
hope and believe the trouble is all imagi- 

'''' Ah ! and indeed we hope that too, every 
one of us," said Mrs. Mynton, who was re- 
garded in Kingslough as a sort of peace-making 

^^ Perhaps you know where Nettie is, Mrs. 
Hartley," suggested Mrs. Lefroy, who on the 
score of her husband's name claimed a relation- 
ship with various distinguished members of 

Where ca7i she be ? 27 

the bar which it would have puzzled the king- 
at-arms to trace, and adopted in consequence a 
severe and judicial deportment amongst her 

^'I know no more of Miss O'Hara's move- 
ments than you do, perhaps rather less," re- 
plied the lady addressed, ^^but until I am 
positively assured some accident has happened 
to her, I prefer to believe that, finding she 
was too late for school, she took a holiday, 
and has walked up to the Abbey to sketch, or 
gone to see some of her young friends, who 
may perhaps have induced her to spend the 
remainder of the day in forgetfulness of back- 
boards and Cramer's exercises." 
'' Ah ! you don't know I^ettie." 
" Indeed, you don't know IN'ettie." 
"You know nothing at all about N'ettie," 
broke forth Miss Eiley's visitors, whilst Miss 
Riley herself, shaking her poor old head, 
mumbled out from jaws that were almost 
toothless, " I^ettie would not do such a thing, 
not for the world." 

For a moment Mrs. Hartley remained silent; 

2 8 The EarPs Ff 


but she was a person who did not like to be 
beaten or to seem beaten, and accordingly, 
with a sudden rally of her forces, she in- 
quired, — 

" Had the girl any lover ? " 

Now this was in reality the question which 
every woman in the room had been dying to 
put ; and yet so unquestioned was Miss Eiley's 
respectability of position and propriety of de- 
meanour during seventy years or thereabouts 
of maidenhood, that no one impressed by the 
Hibernian unities had ventured to put it. 
Mrs. Hartley was however a '^foreigner" and 
audacious. '' Had the girl a lover ? " she 
asked, and at the mere suggestion of such a 
possibility, the curls in Miss Eiley's brown 
front began slowly to slip from their tortoise- 
shell moorings, whilst her wrinkled old cheeks 
became suffused with a pale pink glow, just as 
though she were eighteen again, young enough 
to be wooed, and won, and wed. 

^^ I am astonished at such an idea entering 
into the mind of an^ one who ever beheld 
my grand-niece," she remarked, the very bows 

Where can she be ? 

in her cap trembling with indignation and 
palsy. ^'IN'ettie is only sixteen — a mere 

(^^ "With a very pretty face," remarked Mrs. 
Hartley, inter olia.) 

^^ Who has never, so far as I know," went 
on the octogenarian, ^' spoken half-a-dozen 
words to a — a — gentleman since she was ten 
years old." 

"And pray, my dear Miss Eiley, how far 
do you know about it," retorted that irrepres- 
sible Englishwoman. '^ How can you, who 
never stir out of your house except for an hour 
in the sun, tell how many half-a-dozen words 
a young girl may have spoken to a young 
man. Have you asked that delightful Jane of 
yours if she ever suspected a love affair ? ' ' 

" You can have in Jane, if you like," said 
Miss Eiley. " If anything of that sort had 
been going on, Mrs. Hartley, Jane was too 
old and faithful a servant to have kept it 
from me." 

" I wish we were all as sure Nettie has met 
with no accident, as we are that she has always 


The EarPs Promise. 

behaved, and always mil behave, like the 
good little girl we know her to be," remarked 
Mrs. Mynton. 

^'It is natural though," began Miss Tracey, 
^Hhat seeing Mrs. Hartley is an English- 
woman, she — " 

^'IN'onsense," interposed the lady, thus dis- 
paragingly referred to. ^'No one can think 
more highly of Nettie than I ; indeed if I had 
a fault to find with her manners, it was only 
that they were too sedate and quiet for such a 
young creature — such a very pretty young 
creature," added Mrs. Hartley reflectively. 

''It is very hard upon me at my time of 
life," said Miss Eiley with a helpless whimper, 
and the irrelevance of incipient dotage. 

'' Indeed it is ; indeed we all feel that, but 
you must hope for the best. We shall see 
]N"ettie come back yet safe and sound." Thus 
the chorus, while Mrs. Hartley walked to the 
window and looked out upon the sea, a puzzled 
expression lurking in her brown eyes, and an 
almost contemptuous smile lingering about her 
mouth. • 

Where can she be? 31 

'' Can you not throw any further light on 
this matter, Grace," she asked at last turning 
towards a young girl who sat silent in one 
corner of the room. 

''- 1 never saw Nettie after she left our gate 
at nine o'clock this morning," was the reply 
accompanied by a vivid blush. " I wanted her 
to come in, but she said she was in a hurry ; 
that she wished to get to school early, so as 
to speak to Miss Emily about a French ex- 
ercise she did not quite understand." 

'-'- And when you reached Kingslough House 
she had not arrived ? " 

'^ No, ma'am." 

^' I believe Miss Moffat has already told us 
all she knows on the subject," interposed a 
lady who had not hitherto entered into the 

" I believe Miss Moffat knows more than 
she chooses to tell," retorted Mrs. Hartley, 
with a brusqueness which caused the eyes 
of every person to turn towards the girl, 
who in a perfect agony of confusion ex- 
claimed, — 

32 The EarPs Pro7nise, 

^' Oh ! Mrs. Hartley, I have not the re- 
motest idea where Nettie is. I am quite 
positive she had not another thought in her 
mind when she left me, but to go straight 
to Kingslough House." 

^' The first remark you made when you 
heard she had not reached school was, that 
some accident must have happened to her." 

^^ Allow me to correct you, Mrs. Hartley," 
said Miss Chesterfield. ^'Miss Moffat's words 
were, ' something must have happened,' mean- 
ing, as I understood, that something must have 
happened to prevent her attending as usual to 
her duties ; that was what you intended to 
imply, my dear," added the lady, addressing 
her pupil, '' is it not so ? " 

^'Yes, that was what I intended to say," 
the girl eagerly agreed. 

''And when the man brought in her scarf, 
which he saw floating on the pond, you thought 
she must have met with an accident ? " 

''Please, Mrs. Hartley, do not ask me any 
more," pleaded the witness. " We are making 
Miss Eiley wretched. I cannot tell what 

Where can she be ? 33 

to think. Very likely lier scarf blew off as 
she crossed the plank. It was not in the 
least degree slippery this morning. I went 
that way^ myself. Besides the water there is 
not deep enough to drown any person." 

A long sentence for a young lady of that 
day to utter in public. The gift of tongues 
had not then been so freely vouchsafed to 
damsels under twenty, as it has in these later 
times. And after listening to Miss Grace's 
little speech. Mrs. Hartley turned once more 
towards the window, and looked again over the 

With a different expression, however, to 
that her face had worn previously. She looked 
anxious and troubled. !N'ettie O'Hara's beauty 
was too pleasant a remembrance for this middle- 
aged lady to be able to contemplate without 
dismay, the possibility of harm having come to 
her. And that harm had come to her she began 
to fear, not in the way suggested by the Job's 
comforters who surrounded Miss Riley, but in 
a manner which might make the dripping 
corpse and long fair hair rendered unlovely by 

VOL. I. D 

34 The EarPs Promise. 

clinging sand, a welcome and happy memory 
by comparison. 

1^0 visitor who entered Miss Eiley's house 
that day, had been so much inclined to pooh- 
pooh the alarm excited by the girl's disap- 
pearance as that remarkably sensible and 
matter-of-fact English lady, who now stood 
silently looking out over the sea ; but as that 
sweet young face, innocent and guileless, 
and yet not quite happy, rose up before the 
eyes of her memory, she felt as though she 
should like to go forth and assist herself in 
the search foolish, kindly, incompetent, 
well-meaning friends and acquaintances were 
making for the girl. 

While she stood there she heard vaguely as 
one hears the sound of running water, the 
stream of consolation and condolence flow on. 
They were good people all, those friends of the 
poor palsied lady, who with shaking head and 
trembling hands sat listening to their reiterated 
assurances that she need not be uneasy, there 
would be good news of Nettie soon ; but not 
a competent counsellor could be reckoned 

Where can she be ? 


amongst them. That at least was Mrs. Hart- 
ley's opinion when she turned and surveyed 
the group, and her opinion took the form 
of words in this wise : — 

^*If you hear nothing of Nettie before the 
post goes out to-night, Miss Eiley, I should 
advise you to write and ask your nephew, 
the General, to come and see you without 
delay. I hope and trust, however, there may 
be no necessity for you to write. I shall send 
this evening to know if your anxiety is at 
an end." 

And so saying, Mrs. Hartley took the old 
lady's hand, and held it for a moment sym- 
pathizingly ; then with a general curtsey and 
good morning to an assemblage so large as to 
render a more friendly leave-taking well-nigh 
impossible, she passed from the room, her silk 
dress rustling as she went. 

^'That delightful Jane," as Mrs. Hartley 
called her, was in waiting to let the visitor out. 
She was a woman of thirty or thereabouts, 
ruddy complexioned, and of a comely coun- 
tenance. She was arrayed in decent black. 

D 2 

36 The EarPs Promise. 

Some one or other of the Eiley family was always 
dying, and her mistress liked to see Jane in 
black, though the mistress could not perhaps 
well have afforded to provide mourning for 
the maid. 

Mourning was tidy and respectable, further 
it enabled Jane to wear out Miss Eiley's 
tardily laid aside sable garments ; but a better 
dressed servant could not have been found 
in Kingslough than Jane M 'Bride, who now 
stood apron at her eye ready to open the door 
for Mrs. Hartley. 

^' My good Jane," said that lady, pausing, 
'' what do you think of all this ? " 

'' If anything has happened to Miss Nettie, 
it will break the mistress's heart altogether," 
answered the servant. 

*'But what can have happened?" asked 
Mrs. Hartley. 

''Nothin' plaze God," replied Jane, with 
that ready invocation of the sacred name, 
which is an Hibernian peculiarity, and yet 
apparently with a secret misgiving, that her 
own views and those of Providence might on 

Where can she be ? 2>1 

the special occasion in question have chanced 
to be at variance. 

''• Jane," said Mrs. Hartley, unmoved by the 
solemnity of the adjuration — perhaps because 
she was too much accustomed to hear it 
used — ^^has it occurred to you that Miss 
^N'ettie might have gone off with a — 
lover ? '' 

" No, ma'am ; oh ! presarve us all, no ; Miss 
IN'ettie had no lover, nor thought of one." 

^^ You are quite certain of that? I speak 
to you as a friend of the family." 

^^ Certain sure ; it is as sure as death, Miss 
Nettie had no lover." 

" Then as sure as death, if Miss Nettie had 
not a lover, she will be back here before the 
sun sets," and adown the parade sailed Mrs. 
Hartley, all her silken flags and streamers fly- 
ing in the light summer breeze. 

Before, however, she reached Glendare 
Terrace, came a soft voice in her ear, and a 
light touch on her arm. 

^^May I walk with you, Mrs. Hartley?" 
said the voice. 

38 The EarPs Promise. 

^^ I want to confide in you," said the 

*^You here, Grace?" exclaimed Mrs. Hart- 
ley stopping and looking her young companion 
straight in the face. ^^ Most decidedly you 
may walk with me, you know I am always 
glad of your company." 

And then they went on in silence. ^' Surely 
she will ask me some question," thought 
Grace. '^ I will give my lady line enough," 
decided the older woman — and the latter 

^'I have so wanted to speak to you, dear 
Mrs. Hartley," said the girl, after they had 
paced along a few minutes in silence. 

'^ I like to hear you speak, Grace," was 
the calm reply. 

'^ But about Nettie—" 

^^ I understood you to say, my love, that 
you had told us all there was to tell." 

" And so I have— told all I had to tell, 
but surely, surely — you know — that is — I mean 
— dear Mrs. Hartley," and the timid hand 
clasped the widow's well-developed arm more 

Where can she be ? 39 

tightly, '' I may trust you implicitly, may I 

There was a second's pause, then Mrs. 
Hartley said, — 

^'I hope you may trust me, Grace." 
*'I have told all I know about Xettie," 
went on the girl yehemently, ^'but not all I 
suspect. Oh ! Mrs. Hartley, when I heard you 
advise Miss Eiley to send for the General, 
I could have blessed you. If ever I!^ettie comes 
back, you must never tell, never, what I am 
saying to you now. IS'ettie was miserable 
and discontented, and — and wicked. She used 
to wish she was dead. Oh ! how she used to 
cry at the prospect of being a governess 
for life ; and it ivas hard, was it not, poor 
dear ? I cannot bear to think about it. She 
seemed good and kind to Miss Eiley, but she 
was not a bit grateful, really. Papa never 
liked ISTettie. I did, and I like her still, but 
somehow, try her as one would, soft and sweet 
as she appeared, one always seemed to be get- 
ting one's teeth on a stone. I am afraid 
you will think me dreadfully unkind, but I 

40 The EarPs Promise. 

must talk to somebody, and, may I, j^lease, 
talk to you ? '' 

^^ Certainly, Grace, if you will make your- 
self intelligible," was the reply ; '' but I want 
to understand. Not fifteen minutes since you 
said you were certain that when Nettie 
parted company with you, she had, to use your 
own expression, which, if you were my child, 
I should beg of you never to use again, ' not 
another thought in her mind but to go straight 
to Kingslough House.' " 

^^ If I talked English, like you," retorted 
Grace, ^' everybody in Ireland would laugh at 

*^Do you talk Irish, then?" asked Mrs. 

^' You know what I mean," was the answer, 
and once again Mrs. Hartley felt the soft 
hand clasping her arm. 

^^My love, I do know what your Irish - 
English means, but not in the slightest 
degree do I comprehend your mystery. 
Do you believe Nettie has committed sui- 
cide ? " 

Where can she be? 41 

''Suicide!" with a shiver, "why should 
she ? " 

" Do you believe she is drowned ? " 

" :N"o ! oh, no ! " 

" Will she return to the Parade to-night ? " 

" I hope she may. How can I tell ? " 

At this juncture Mrs. Hartley freed her arm 
from Miss Moffat's grasp. 

" My dear child," she said, " you had bet- 
ter go home to your father. He is a man of 
mature years, and may like to be fooled. I 
am a woman of mature years, and the bare 
suspicion of being fooled is intolerable to me — 

Then Miss Moffat suddenly brought to book, 
exclaimed, — 

" I have no mother, Mrs. Hartley, and my 
father never liked Nettie, and I liked her so — 
so much." 

" And therefore you know what has 
become of her — where she has gone?" — 
a sentence severely uttered as an interro- 

"No ! I wish I did— I wish I did." 

42 The EarPs Promise. 

^' What do you suspect? you may be quite 
frank, Grace, with me." 

^' She had a locket she wore inside her 
dress, a ring she put on sometimes and said 
belonged to her grandfather ; but it was quite 
a new ring, and the hair in the locket was 
black as jet. The locket fell out of her dress 
one day, and she invented in her confusion two 
or three stories about it. If she had only told 
me — if she had only said one word — !N'ettie, 
Nettie," wailed the girl, extinguishing with 
that cry the last ray of hope Mrs. Hartley's 
horizon had contained. 

^^ Grace," began that lady, after a long and 
painful pause, '•'' you reminded me a little time 
since that you have no mother. May I talk 
to you like one?" 

^^ Dear Mrs. Hartley, yes ! what have I 
done wrong ? " and Grace's hand stole back to 
its accustomed place, and for once Mrs. Hartley 
thought her companion's accent more than 
pretty, something which might even have 
attracted admirers at ^^ the West End." 

^' Nothing, I hope ; I trust you never will ; 

Where can she be ? 43 

but does your great interest in Xettie O'Hara 
arise from the fact that you and John Eiley 
are likely to be much hereafter one to 
another ? " 

Instantly the hand was withdrawn, and a 
quick flush passed over the girl's face. 

^^ John and I are nothing to each other but 
very good friends. He does not care enough 
for ijae, and I do not care enough for him, for 
things to be different. I only wish IS'ettie 
and he could have liked each other, and made 
a match. Perhaps in time she would have 
grown good enough for him. 

" You think John Eiley a very good man, 
then ? " 

*^ Yes, too good and rare — " began the 
girl, when her companion interrupted her 
with — 

" You little simpleton, run home, and to- 
night when you say your prayers, entreat that 
if you ever marry, you may have just such a 
good and rare (though foolish and capable of 
improvement) husband as John Eiley. In all 
human probability you never will be anything 

44 The EarPs Profuise. 

more to each other than you are now ; but still 
keep him as a friend, and you shall have me too, 
Grace, if you care for an old woman's liking." 

" Though I am not pretty like jN'ettie," 
added the girl. 

"You are pretty, though not like IsTettie. 
Ah ! child, when you are my age you will un- 
derstand why we, for whom admiration, if we 
ever had the power to attract it, is a forgotten 
story, are so tender to girls. Oh ! I wish 
I had that fair-haired Nettie beside me now. 
How shall I sleep if no tidings come of her to- 
night ? " 

" Surely there will," said Grace softly. 

'-'- Surely there will not," considered Mrs. 
Hartley ; and so the pair parted. Miss Moffat 
with the hope that although Nettie might 
have "gone off" with somebody she would 
repent by the way and turn back, Mrs. Hart- 
ley wondering who in the world that " some- 
body " might be with whom the young lady 
had chosen to elope. 

Could it be Mr. John Eiley ; that same John 
to whom Grace Moffat had, by popular con- 

Where ca7i she be ? 45 

sent, been' long assigned ? Grace was young, 
but young people grow older in a judicious 
course of years. John likewise had not yet that 
head on his shoulders which is popularly sup- 
posed to bestow wisdom on its possessor ; but 
he was an honest, honourable, good-looking, 
sufficiently clever young man, and as both 
families approved of the suggested alliance 
(had done so indeed since Grace wore a coral 
and bells), Kingslough considered the mar- 
riage as well-nigh un fait accompli. 

True, Grace had been known to declare " she 
never meant to leave her father, that she did 
not think much of love or lovers, of mairying 
or giving in marriage. Why could not girls 
let well, alone, and when they were happy at 
home, stay there ? She was happy ; she would 
always remain at Bayview ; she was well ; she 
did wish people would leave her alone." Thus 
Grace, whilst John, when gracefully rallied on 
the subject by acquaintances who never could 
be made to understand that if a man has 
lost his heart, he docs not care to talk about 
the fact, was wont laughingly to quote the 

46 The EarPs Proinise. 

Scotch ballad, and say, *^ ' Gracie is ower 
young to marry yet,' and when she is old 
enough it is not likely she would throw her- 
self away upon a poor fellow like me." 

For Grace had a large fortune in her own 
right, and expectations worthy of considera- 
tion, and she came of a good old family, and 
persons who were supposed to understand such 
matters declared that eventually Grace would 
be a very attractive woman. 

But then that time was the paradise of girls ; 
they held the place in masculine estimation 
now unhappily monopolized by more mature 
sirens, and if a girl failed in her early teens to 
develope beauty after the fashion of Nettie 
O'Hara, her chances in the matrimonial market 
were not considered promising. 

Curls, book-muslin, blue eyes, sashes to 
match, blushes when spoken to, no original or 
common-place observations to advance when 
invited out to the mild dissipation of tea, and 
a carpet-dance ; such was the raw materal from 
which men of that generation chose wives for 
themselves, mothers for their children. 

Where can she be ? 


It was the fashion of the day, and we 
are all aware that fashions are not immu- 

Such is not the fashion now ; and yet 
who, looking around, shall dare to say that 
the old curl and crook and shepherdess 
business had not, spite of its folly, much to 
recommend it ? 

Men made mistakes then no doubt, but they 
were surely less costly mistakes than are made 
nowadays. If a husband take to wife the 
wrong woman — and this is an error which 
has not even the charm of novelty to recom- 
mend it — he had surely a better chance for 
happiness with natural hair, virgin white 
dresses made after simplicity's own device, 
innocent blue eyes, and cheeks whose roses 
bloomed at a moment's notice, than with the 
powders, paints, and frizettes of our own en- 
chanting maidens. 

We are concerned now, however, with the 
girl of that period. According to the then 
standard of beauty, as by society established, 
Grace Moflfat was not lovely. "With Nettie 
O'Hara the case stood widely different. 

48 The EarPs Promise. 

Had her portrait ever been painted, it might 
now have been exhibited as the type of that 
in woman which took men's hearts captive in 
those old world days ; golden hair hanging in 
thick curls almost to her waist ; large blue 
eyes, with iris that dilated till at times it made 
the pupil seem nearly black; long, tender 
lashes ; a broad white forehead ; a complexion 
pure pink, pure white ; dimpled cheeks ; soft 
tender throat ; slight figure^ undeveloped ; 
brains undeveloped also ; temper, perhaps, 

A face without a line ; eyes without even a 
passing cloud ; an expression perfectly free 
from shadow ; and yet Grace Moffat described 
her favourite companion accurately, when in 
vague language she likened her to some fair 
tempting fruit, inside whereof there lurked a 
hardness, which friend, relative, and acquaint- 
ance, tried in vain to overcome. It had been 
the custom at Kingslough to regard IST ettie as 
a limpid brook, through the clean waters of 
which every pebble, every grain of sand was 
to be plainly discerned. Now as Mrs. Hartley 

Where can she be ? 49 

sat and pondered over the girl's mysterious 
disappearance, she marvelled whether Miss 
IN'ettie's innocent transparency might not rather 
have been that of a mirror ; in other words, 
whether, while showing nothing much of her 
own thoughts, the young lady merely reflected 
back those of others. 

She had been unhappy, yet who save 
Grace was cognizant of the fact ? The out- 
side world always imagined she was interested 
and absorbed in those studies, which were 
to fit her to fill a responsible position — 
perhaps eventually at a salary of eighty 
pounds a year ; such things were amongst the 
chronicles of society — in that state of life in 
which strangely enough Providence had seen 
fit to place an O'Hara. And yet what was 
the truth? the position had been unendur- 
able to her, and most probably the studies 

^'Oh ! " sighed Mrs. Hartley, sinking into the 
depths of a comfortable easy-chair, ^'is truth 
to be found nowhere save at the bottom of 
a well ? and has John Kiley anything to dc 

VOL. I. E 


The EarPs Promise. 

with I^ettie's disappearance ? If I find tie has, 
I shall renounce humanity." 

Is'evertheless, how was she to retain her 
faith intact even in John Eiley ? Not for one 
moment did she now imagine that if Nettie 
were actually gone, and she believed this to be 
the case, she had gone alone. No relative, 
Mrs. Hartley well knew, would welcome this 
prodigal with tears of rejoicing — with out- 
stretched arms of love. She had been slow to 
share in the alarm caused by Nettie's dis- 
appearance, by Nettie's saturated scarf; now 
she could not resist a gradually increasing 
conviction that the girl's conduct had belied 
her face, and brought discredit on her family ; 
that she had stolen away with some one who, 
fancying the match would not be approved of 
by his own relatives, possessed power enough 
over her affections to induce her to consent to 
a secret marriage. 

A deeper depth of misfortune than a runa- 
way match Mrs. Hartley had indeed for a mo- 
ment contemplated, as whilst the talk in Miss 
Eiley' s parlour ran on, her eyes looked over 

Where can she be? 51 

the sun-lit sea ; but seated in her own pleasant 
drawing-room, her reason refused to let her 
fears venture again to the brink of so terrible 
an abyss. ]^o ; Nettie had always been 
surrounded by honest and honourable men 
and women ; women, who though they might 
be at times malicious, fond of scandal, given 
to tattling concerning the offences of their 
neighbours, would yet have done their best to 
keep a girl from wrong, or the knowledge 
of wrong; men, who let their sins of omission 
and commission be in other respects what they 
would, had yet a high standard of morality, 
as morality concerned their wives, mothers, 
sisters, children, and female relatives generally. 

nad Nettie been one of the royal family, 
fenced round by all sorts of forms and 
ceremonies, by state etiquette, and the tradi- 
tions of a line of kings, she could not, in Mrs. 
Hartley's opinion, have breathed an atmosphere 
more free from taint of evil, than that in 
which she had hitherto lived and had her 

It might be John Eiley — incited thereto 




52 The Earl's Promise, 

by love of her pretty face, and fear of op- 
position from his family — had persuaded the 
girl to run off with him. If this were so, the 
greater pity for both. He was poor and 
struggling; her worldly fortune consisted of 
those personal charms already duly chronicled, 
a very little learning, and a smattering of a 
few accomplishments. 

She knew as much as other young ladies 
of her age of that period ; but after all, '^ La 
Clochette," the ^^ Battle of Prague," and other 
such triumphs of musical execution were not 
serviceable articles with which to set up 

She had been in training for a governess, 
and why, oh ! why, could not John Eiley have 
left her in peace to follow that eminently 
respectable, if somewhat monotonous voca- 

^' It must be John Eiley;" that Mrs. Hart- 
ley decided with a sorrowful shake of her head. 
Thanks to the blindness, or folly, or design of 
Grace Moffat, the young man had been afforded 
ample opportunities of contemplating Nettie's 

Where ca7i she be ? 53 

pink cheeks, and blue eyes, and golden curls, 
in the old-fashioned garden at Bayview. 

She had counted there as nobody, no doubt, 
the demure little chit. She had been still and 
proper, Mrs. Hartley could well understand. 
At a yery early period of her young life, 
Nettie was taught in a bitter enough school 
the truth, that speech is silver, but silence 

Nevertheless, young men have eyes, and 
John Eiley was at least as likely as Mrs. 
Hartley to realize the fact that Nettie was 
a very pretty girl. 

^^ And it will be misery for both of them," 
decided the lady; ''but there, what can it 
signify to me, who have no reason to trouble 
myself about the matter, to whom they aie 
neither kith nor kin ? I shall never believe 
in an honest face again Mr. John Eiley, nor 
in a blundering, stupid schoolboy manner. 
There, I wash may hands of the whole matter ; 
I only wish they were both young enough to be 
whipped and put in the corner, couple of babies." 

And then as a fitting result of her sentence, 

54 T^^^^ EarPs Promise. 

Mrs. Hartley sent up this message to the 
Parade: ^'Mrs. Hartley's kind love, and has 
Miss Eiley heard any tidings of her niece ? " 
as by a convenient fiction Miss O'Hara was 

The answer which came back was, '^ Miss 
Eiley's best love to Mrs. Hartley. She is very 
poorly, and has sent for the General. No news of 
Miss ]N"ettie." 

^'What a shame," thought Mrs. Hartley, 
'' for them to keep the poor old lady in such a 
state of suspense ! " and she went to bed, 
having previously corked up all the vials of 
her wrath, with the intention of opening them 
sooner or later for the benefit of John Eiley. 

Alas ! however, for the best laid schemes of 
humanity. Next morning, when Dodson, 
Mrs. Hartley's highly respectable and emi- 
nently disagreeable maid, called her mistress, 
she brought with her into the room the follow- 
ing announcement : — 

''It is nine o'clock' 'm, and if you please, 
'm, Mr. Eiley, 'm, is in the drawing-room, 'm, 
and Miss O'Hara— " 

Where can she be ? 55 

^' What of her, woman ? " demanded Mrs. 
Hartley, in a tone Mrs. Siddons might have 
envied, sitting bolt upright in bed and looking 
in her toilette de niiit a very different person 
indeed from the stately widow whose dress was 
the envy and whose tongue was the dread of 
all the ladies in Kingslough, whether married 
or single. " Don't stand there silent, as if you 
were an idiot.'' 

^^Miss O'Hara have gone off with Mr. 
Daniel Brady, 'm, if you please, 'm," and 
Dodson the imperturbable, having made this 
little speech, turned discreetly to leave the 

"If she pleased, indeed!" Whether she 
pleased or not the deed was done and ir- 

For blue eyes, and pink cheeks, and golden 
hair there was in this world no hope, no 
pardon, no chance of social or family rehabili- 
ment ; not even when the eyes were bleared 
and glassy, not when the cheeks were pale and 
furrowed, not when the thick, bright hair was 
thin and grey, might IN'ettie ever imagine this 

56 The Earl's Promise. 

sin of her youth would be forgiven and for- 

An hour had been enough for the sowing, 
years would scarcely suffice for the in-gather- 

All this Mrs. Hartley foresaw as she laid her 
head again on the pillow and turned her eyes 
away from the sight of the bright sunbeams 
dancing on the sea. 

Meantime the door had closed behind her 
immaculate and most unpleasant maid. 




Twelve Irish miles from Kingslough, meaning 
fifteen or thereabouts English measurement, 
stood Eosemont, the ancestral residence of 
the Earls of Glendare. 

That fifteen miles' journey took the traveller 
precisely the same distance from the sea ; but 
it did not matter in the smallest degree to any 
of the Glendares where the family seat was 
situated, since they never lived on their own 
acres whilst a guinea remained to be spent in 
London or Paris. 

Once upon a time, as the fairy-books say, 
the Glendare rent-roll had provided the head 

58 The EarVs Promise, 

of the family with an income of one thou- 
sand pounds a day. There were larger rent- 
rolls in the United Kingdom no doubt, but 
still a thousand a day can scarcely be con- 
sidered penury. 

To the Glendares, however, it merely as- 
sumed the shape of pocket-money ; as a natural 
consequence the ancestral revenues proved 
ultimately totally inadequate to supply the 
requirements of each successive earl. 

They married heiresses, they married 
paupers, with a precisely similar result. 

The heiresses' wealth was spent, the paupers 
learned to spend. Gamblers, men and women, 
they risked the happiness and well-being of 
their tenants on a throw of the dice. Eents, 
too high already, were raised on lands the 
holders had no capital to get more produce 
out of. 

*^ Money! money !" was the Glendare re- 
frain; and money scraped together by pence 
and shillings, money painfully earned in the 
sweat of men's brows, by the labour of women's 
hands, went out of the country to keep those 

TJie Glen dares, 59 

^vickecl orgies going where my lord, and otlier 
lords like him, helped to make a poor land 
poorer, and milady, all paint, and pride, and 
sin, played not only diamonds and spades, but 
the heart's blood of patient men, and the tears 
and sobs of hopeless women. 

In the quiet fields where the wheat grew and 
the barley ripened, where the potatoes put 
forth their blossoms, purple and yellow, white 
and yellow, where the meadows yielded crops 
that reached far above a man's knees, there 
was the Glendare rent sowed and planted, 
reaped, mown, garnered, gathered, pound by 
pound, all too slowly for the harpies who 
waited its advent. 

The hens in the untidy farm-yards, the eggs 
they laid in convenient hedges, the chickens 
they hatched were all in due course sacrificed 
on the altar of rent. The cows' milk, the 
butter it produced, the calves they bore, might 
have been labelled " Rent." The yarn spun 
by an ancient grandmother, the cloth woven 
by a consumptive son had that trade-mark 
stamped upon thread and web. The bees in 

6o The Earl's P> 


the garden hummed unconsciously the same 
tune, the pigs grunting on the dung-heap, wal- 
lowing in the mire, exploring the tenants' 
earth-floored kitchens, repeated the same refrain. 

Eent ! the children might have been hushed 
to sleep with a song reciting its requirements, 
so familiar was the sound and meaning of the 
word to them. Eent ! lovers could not forget 
the inevitable ^^ gale days,'' even in their 

What did it matter whether the tenants 
looked forth over land where the earth gave 
her increase, or upon barren swamps, where 
nothing grew luxuriantly save rushes and 
yellow flags ? The rent had to be made up 
somehow just the same. Did the pig die, did 
the cow sicken, did the crops fail, did illness 
and death cross their thresholds, that rent, 
more inexorable even than death, had to be 
paid by men who in the best of times could 
scarcely gather together sufficient to pay it at 

In the sweat of their brows was that income 
made up by the Glendare tenantry, and the 

The Glendares. 6i 

Jews had the money. Fortunately in those 
days penny newspapers were not, and tidings 
from the great capital came rarely to remote 
homesteads, otherwise how should these men 
have borne their lot ; borne labour greater than 
any working man of the present day would 
endure, and superadded to that labour all the 
anxieties of a merchant ? The farmer then 
was a principal and yet he did his own labour. 
He had a principal's stake, a principal's re- 
sponsibilities, and as a recompense — what ? 
The privilege of being out in all weathers to 
look after his stock and his crops ; the right to 
work early and late so long as he could make 
up his rent ; the power to keep a sound roof 
over his head if he saw to the thatch or the 
slating himself. Add to these advantages a 
diet into which oaten meal entered largely and 
meat never; the luxury of a chaff-bed; the 
delight of being called Mister by the clergy- 
man, the minister, the agent, and friends 
generally, and the reader will have a fair idea 
of the sort of existence led by tenants on 
the Glcndare and other estates at that period 
of Ireland's history. 

62 The Earl's Pro7mse. 

Landlords in those days had no responsibili- 
ties. Eesponsibility was at that time entirely 
a tenant question, which fact may perhaps 
account for some of the troubles that have 
since then perplexed the mind of the upper ten. 
By the grace of God and the king there was 
then a class established to spend money ; by 
grace of the same powers there was a still 
larger class created to provide the money the 
former chose to squander. 

That property had its duties as well as 
its rights was a maxim which would have 
been laughed to scorn by those whom the 
adage concerned. 

Once again we may find in this, cause for 
the later effect, of the lower classes now 
utterly denying that property has its rights 
as well as its duties. 

Eevolutions come and revolutions go ; there 
is a mighty one being wrought at the present 
moment, which has arisen out of circumstances 
such as those enumerated and others like them, 
and happy will this land be if for once the 
wealthy can persuade themselves to personal 

The Glendares. 63 

abnegation as " the poor did in days gone 


It is hard to do so with the eyes of body 
and understanding Avide open, but in propor- 
tion to the difficulty so will be the reward. 

The great must give much now for the years 
wherein their fathers gave nothing; and if 
they are willing to do so, the evil will right 
itself, and a bloodless battle-ground shall leave 
an open field whereon the next generation may 
ventilate the differences of centuries, and settle 
those grievances which have been handed down 
from generation to generation, but investigated 
truthfully and thoroughly by none. 

In the days of which I write, taking society 
round, the rich were all powerful, and the poor 
had none to help. It was a great and patient 
population that rose up early and worked hard 
all day, that ate the bread of carefulness and 
saved every groat which their poor lives could 
spare in order that milady and other ladies like 
her should fulfil no one single useful or grand 
purpose in life. 

Were the sights of natui'c in her different 

64 The EarPs Promise, 

moods sufficient reward for their uncomplain- 
ing labour? So perhaps the men and the 
women who never noticed nature at all, con- 

And yet there must have been some great 
compensation about the whole business, which 
perhaps we shall never quite understand here 
— unless it was to be found in the great con- 
tentment, the sweet patient adaptability of the 
people of that far away time. 

The love of wife and children was wonder- 
fully dear to those toilers on the land, and as 
a rule they had tender, helpful wives, and 
dutiful, hard working children. There was 
peace at home, let the agent be never so 
unquiet ; there was no straining this way and 
struggling in that direction. 

The oaten meal porridge was eaten in thank- 
fulness, and no dissension curdled the milk 
with which the mess was diluted. They were 
too poor, and too dependent one upon another 
to quarrel, added to which the Almighty had 
bestowed upon them that power of knowing 
when to speak and ^'hen to refrain, wliich 

The Glendares. 65 

adds so mightily to the well-being of house- 

^'The world," says the old adage, *' grows 
wiser and weaker;" comparing the poor of 
these days with the poor of a long ago period, 
it is to be feared they do not grow better. 

Concerning the rich, it is to be hoped they 
grow wiser than their progenitors. 

Wickeder it might baffle some even of the 
men whose doings now astonish worthy magis- 
trates and learned judges, to become. 

1^0 man of the present day at all events 
dare emulate the doings of those historical 
Glendares, and yet one redeeming point may 
be stated in their favour. They exhibited 
their vices where they spent their money. On 
the rare occasions when they honoured the 
family mansion with their presence, they left 
their immoralities behind them. They came 
like leeches to suck the life's blood out of their 
tenants ; to assert feudal superiority in the 
matter of votes ; to get out of the way of 
importunate creditors ; sometimes it might be 
to recruit health, enfeebled by London hours 

VOL. I. P 

66 The EarPs Promise. 

and London dissipation : but no tenant ever 
had cause to curse the day when his daugh- 
ter's pretty face was commented on by one of 
the Glendares, old or young; no farmer's wife 
ever had reason to weep for a child worse 
than dead through them ; no household held a 
vacant place in consequence of any ill wrought 
by my lord or one belonging to him. 

Indeed that was just the sort of evil my lord 
would not have brooked on the part of one 
belonging to him. 

He knew the people he had to deal with, and 
understood precisely the straw which should 
break the camel's back of their endurance. 

So to put it, he and his were on their good 
behaviour when they crossed the channel ; and 
accordingly, though never worse landlords 
cursed a soil than these men who had come in 
with the second Charles, and not gone out 
with any of the Georges, the Glendares were 
popular and well liked. 

Perhaps for the same reason that the Stuarts 
were liked. They had winsome faces, gracious 
ways, familiar manners. The beggars in the 

The Glendares. 67 

streets had free liberty to bandy repartee with, 
my lord, who always kept his pockets full of 
coppers for their benefit. 

Coppers ! the pence were much to them, but 
what were they to him ? And yet the farmer, 
from whose leathern pouches those coppers 
originally came, and who gave out of their 
poverty a million times more than their land- 
lord out of his abundance, liked to hear the 
the mendicants' praise of my lord, who had 
a word and a joke for everybody, ''God bless 

And perhaps there was some praise due to a 
nobleman who, situated as my lord was, had a 
word and a joke for anybody. 

It is not in the slightest degree likely that a 
single reader of these lines can know from ex- 
perience the irritating effects which a persist- 
ent dun is capable of exciting on the serenest 
temper. Still less can the present race of 
debtors understand the horror that encom- 
passed even a nobleman when he knew at 
any moment the hand of a bailiff might be 
laid on his shoulder. 


68 The EarVs Promise, 

Fancy capping jests under these circum- 
stances with a bare-footed, imperfectly clothed 
Hibernian beggar who had never washed her 
body nor combed her hair for forty years or 
thereabouts. Could you have done it ? IS'o, 
you answer with a shudder ; and yet that was 
the way in which gentry courted popularity, 
and '^ made their souls" in the good old days 

To the poorest man who touched his hat to 
him, my lord raised his; let the humblest 
Irish equivalent of John Oakes or Tom Styles 
ask audience, he was asked into the presence- 
chamber. On his agent, on his lawyers, my 
lord thrust the unpleasant portion of the land 
question, and every tenant on that wide estate 
was from his own personal experience firmly 
convinced that if his landlord could only be 
privately informed how wrong many things 
were, he would publicly redress them. 

^' Not but what the lawyers and the agent 
were very pleasant gentlemen, only it was not 
natural they should take the same interest in 
the soil as his lordship," and so forth. "Whereas 

The G I 671 dares. 69 

those unhappy gentlemen were always trying 
to moderate his lordship's demands, always 
striving to make that most worthy nobleman 
understand there was a limit to a farmer's 
purse, a point beyond which a man could not, 
physically or pecuniarily, be safely bled. 

Besides Eosemont the Glendare owned other 
residences in Ireland : Glendare Castle, a black 
ruin, the foundations of which were washed 
by the wild Atlantic waves; Beechwood, a 
lovely property occupied by a certain Major 
Coombes, who kept the place in good order to 
the exceeding mortification of his landlord, 
who considered the well-kept lawns and trim 
flower-gardens and richly stocked conserva- 
tories a tacit reproach to himself; to say 
nothing of several dilapidated shooting-lodges 
that were either rented by poor gentlemen 
farmers, or else going to ruin as fast as damp 
and neglect could take them. 

Had any one of the family set himself to the 
task of freeing the estates, he might have suc- 
ceeded. Ilad any fresh earl when he returned 
to Eosemont, after laying the body of his pre- 

70 The EarPs Pjvmise. 

decessor in the old Abbey overlooking the sea, 
faced the question of his difficulties, and deter- 
mined to rid his property of debt and the Jews, 
he might even at the eleventh hour have saved 
those broad acres for his posterity and won 
ease of mind and blessings from his inferiors 
for himself. Until the very last, the disease 
though deep seated was not incurable ; but not 
one of those careless earls ever had courage to 
endure the remedy. 

After the funeral of each successive noble- 
man, the next heir hied him back to London, 
or Paris, or Baden, or some other favourite 
resort ; and the Jews and the lawyers and the 
middle-men prospered and fattened on the 
Glen dare pastures, whilst both landlord and 
tenants led wretched, anxious lives, the first 
driven almost mad by the harpies, whose cry 
from January to December was ''More, more," 
the latter toiling to fill a purse out of which 
the money poured faster than it could bo 
thrown in. 

Yes, they were doomed in those days of 
which I ^Tite — the Glendares gracious in 

The Glendares. 7 1 

manuer, false at heart ; liglitly had their lands 
been won, lightly it seemed destined they 
should go. And yet there was one of the 
family towards whom the eyes of the tenantry 
turned with hope, though he was not heir- 
apparent, or presumptive, or anj^thing of the 

He was resident, however, and that, in the 
estimation of the Glendare dependents, was a 
virtue and a promise in itself. Since his 
earliest youth Eobert Somerford had lived 
amongst his uncle's tenantry ; not from any 
desire on his part to do so, the reader may 
be certain, but simply because Mrs. Somerford 
having no money to live anywhere else, had 
been glad enough when left a widow, to 
embrace Lord Glendare' s offer for her to take 
up her abode at Eosemont, and make her 
moderate income go as far as she could in one 
wing of that commodious family mansion. 

The Hon. Mrs. Somerford never made even 
a pretence of being contented with this ar- 
rangement. She gave herself airs, she openly 
stated her dislike to the country and its inha- 

72 The EarPs Promise. 

bitants; she never visited the j^oor, or the rich 
either if she could help it, for that matter ; she 
never assisted the sick and needy ; the ready 
graceful charity of that generous peasantry she 
laughed to scorn; indeed, as Mrs. Hartley, 
herself a distant kinswoman of Lord Glen- 
dare's relative declared, ''Mrs. Somerford was 
a truly detestable person." 

But Lord Glendare had loved his younger 
brother, her husband, and for the sake of the 
dead gave shelter to the widow and her son, 
thQ latter of whom grew up amongst the Irish 
people as has been stated. 

Had fate so willed it, he would gladly have 
left Ireland and the people behind him for 
ever. Aliens the Glendares were when to 
John Somerford, first Earl, King Charles 
granted those lands, privileges, and so forth, 
of which mention has already been made ; and 
aliens they remained through the years that 
followed. They were not of the soil ; better 
they loved the pavement of Bond Street than 
all the shamrocks of the sainted isle ; but as 
already hinted, they were a plausible and an 

The Gleiida^'es. 73 

adaptable race, possessed of manners that might 
have pleased their first royal patron, not given 
to^tramp unnecessarily on people's corns and 
blessed with that ready courtesy, which if it 
mean in reality very little, conveys the idea of 
intending a great deal. 

Certain were the tenants that some daj^ Mr. 
Eobert would put matters right for them 
with my lord. 

" He is like one of ourselves, bless his hand- 
some face,'' said the women, enthusiastically. 
^' He has sat down there," and the speaker 
would point to a settle opposite, "many and 
many a time, and taken the children on his 
knee, and rested his gun in the corner, and 
eaten a potato and salt with as much relish as 
if it had been a slice off a joint." 

"And his tongue is like ours," some man 
would continue. " Even my lord talks English, 
and so do his sons, fine young gentlemen 
though they be, but Master Eobert is Irish to 
the backbone. He will go away to Dublin 
and make a great name for himself one of these 
daj^s, and then he won't forget the ^gossoons' 

74 The EarPs Promise. 

he played with once, but ' insense ' my lord 
into the wrongs that are put upon us in 
his name." 

^^ There never was a Somerford a patch upon 
Mr. Eobert," sometimes cried a female voice 
when the conversation turned upon Eosemont 
and its inhabitants. At which juncture a 
tenant more wise, more just, or more prudent 
than the woman-kind, was certain to interpose 
with a cautious remark — 

'•^ Hoot ! ye shouldn't say that, the young 
lords are wonderful fine lads to be sure." 

From all of which it will be perceived that 
another earl now received the Glendare rents 
from that lamented nobleman who ruled over 
his vassals at the time George the Fourth began 
his glorious reign. 

He lay in Ballyknock Abbey securely cased 
in elm and soldered down in lead, and, for 
greater safety, boxed up a third time in oak ; 
and Louis, the son he hoped might obtain 
an appointment in the Eoyal Household, 
and who did obtain it, reigned in his 

The Glendares, 75 

Thus a new race was springing up not one 
whit less extravagant, selfish, short sighted, 
and evilly inclined than the former generation. 
Strange tales about the Glendare menage^ and 
the Glendare doings, found their way across 
the channel to Dublin, and thence down to 
the better class of houses in the colder and 
darker north, — tales whereat sometimes society 
lifted up its hands and covered its face, tales 
at which it shook its decorous head, tales of 
shifts and subterfuges at which it was not in 
Irish nature to avoid laughing. 

A volcano was threatening the land, but the 
Glendares danced unconscious on the edge 
of the crater. The skeleton ruin was creeping 
up to their gates, but they only threw those 
gates open the wider, and bade more guests 
enter. A cloud of debt, once no bigger than a 
man's hand, now covered almost the whole of 
their social future, and yet, each day, fresh 
debts were contracted. 

The Countess was one of the queens whose 
voice was potent at Almack's. 

She had been a great beauty in her youth. 

76 The EarPs Profjiise, 

Artists had painted, sculptors moulded her, 
poets had written verses in her honour, 
philosophers had basked in her smiles, states- 
men esteemed it an honour to receive a tap 
from her fan. 

But the loveliness was gone, as the lands 
were going, and everybody knew it. 

She had immediately before the period when 
this story opens, received an intimation from 
her husband that as an election was imminent, 
it would be necessary for them both to repair 
to Ireland ; and when she looked in the glass, 
to trace precisely the change which the years 
come and gone since she had canvassed for 
votes before had wrought, she sighed at the 
alteration made not so much by time as by 
the harassing life led of her own choice and 
her own free will. 

"Heigho!" she thought, ^'who would 
imagine I had once been the beautiful Lady 
Trevor ? " and then she put on a little more 
rouge, and decided that after all the change 
was more apparent to her than it could be 
to any one else. 

The Glendares. 77 

Happy in this delusion, my lady arrived 
at Eosemont on the morning of the day when 
all Kingslongh was in consternation at high 
noon by reason of Nettie O'Hara's disap- 




It was a remarkable fact that although of 
the three ladies who kept the only circula- 
ting library Kingslough boasted one was deaf, 
a second nearly blind, and the third afflicted 
with lameness, nowhere in the town was 
such early and reliable information concern- 
ing important events to be obtained as in the 
small room lined with shelves, which were 
filled with ragged, soiled, generally imperfect, 
and sometimes wholly disabled books, which 
had passed through hundreds of hands, and 
done duty at various other circulating libraries 
before settling down for life amongst the 

How the News arrived, 79 

iiiliabitants of that dull little seaport 

In the pleasant days of old, few people 
in Ireland worked for their living. There 
was an idea abroad that to labour for daily- 
bread could by no possibility be the right 
thing to do ; and accordingly, as human beings 
found it impossible to live without bread, or 
at all events potatoes, as pennies were very 
scarce, even if the price of provisions was 
inconceivably low, a convenient series of 
fictions obtained amongst the Hibernians, 
that if any work was done it was performed 
entirely [as a matter of pleasure or occu- 

Even the very labourers, most of whom had 
their few acres of rush or daisy- covered land, 
farmed by their wives and children, went 
to the estate on which they chanced to be 
employed, "Just to oblige the masther." 

The work was done fairly and the wages 
received regularly, but it pleased them to 
make the latter seem by a figure of speech 
rather an accident than a result. 

8o The EarPs P. 


And the same spirit pervaded all ranks. If 
a young man more clever and more fortunate 
than his fellows had a secretary's place offered, 
he accepted it merely, so partial friends de- 
clared, because ''Lord This or That was so 
good to him ; treated dear George like his 
own son." Did a boy enter the navy, " he 
could never, his relations declared, be happy 
on shore, so they were glad to humour his 
whim." Did a brother scrape together all the 
family resources and purchase a commission in 
a cavalry regiment, the girls were delighted, 
because '' Charley never was happy out of the 
saddle." Did a man read hard and study hard 
and go in for the bar, mamma murmured in a 
delicious brogue, '' Henery had always a turn 
for arguing and making speeches ; " whilst if 
a keen young fellow were sufficiently lucky to 
own an attorney uncle, friendly enough and 
rich enough to find money to article the 
lad to himself, the matter was generally put 
in some such light as this : — 

''Jack is going to Dublin to help his uncle. 
The dear old man's business — almost entii-ely 

How the News arrived. 8i 

confined to the nobility — is increasing just 
as fast as his health is failing, and so he asked 
Jack if he would mind assisting him, and 
of course it will not be any extra expense 
to us, as he would not have Jack there and 
give him nothing." 

As regards the Church, I really think there 
was no need to put a false gloss on the motives 
of any man who entered it then, so far at least 
as money was concerned. The great prizes 
were not many. The pay of curates was 
ridiculously small ; so small indeed that few 
save those possessed of adequate private 
means could have been found among their 
ranks ; but perhaps this was the only career 
concerning which a fair amount of candour 

To India, indeed, men did not scruple to say 
they were going, simply and purely to make 
their fortimes ; but then India was a long way 
off, and the fortunes men had made there, the 
undying names they had left behind, the pages 
their deeds filled in history, read like the 
enchanted story of some eastern romance. 

VOL. I. G 

82 The Earl's Promise. 

Ey a similar convenient fiction to that 
employed by men, if ladies worked, it was 
because they liked employment, not because 
they earned money. 

Supposing ^^ family circumstances" induced 
Miss Brennan to take up her abode in Sir 
Thomas O'Donnell's family in the capacity 
of governess or companion, she stayed there, 
so sympathetic friends would have it, not 
because Sir Thomas paid her fifty pounds a 
year, but because Lady O'Donnell liked her so 
much she would not hear of her returning 
to her friends. 

Supposing Mrs. "Waller and her daughters, 
driven to their wits' ends how to make the 
ends of their income meet! Visitors were 
expected to believe that all these screens 
Martha painted so beautifully; all these purses, 
glittering with beads and tassels and clasps 
and fancy rings, which Pauline knitted or 
netted with a grace and dexterity really 
pleasant to behold ; all those pen-wipers and 
scent-bags and card-baskets and paper mats 
which the younger fry manufactured as in- 

How the News arrived. 

dustriously as though they had been inmates 
of a deaf and dumb school, were intended 
merely as free gifts to their richer relations. 

That was the way Mrs. Waller put and 
her friends received it; with the light in 
which the richer relations viewed those works 
of art we have, happily, nothing to do. The 
delusion was kept up at one end; perhaps 
there was execration at the other. There 
are some persons who to this hour cannot 
behold an embroidered sofa-pillow, a set of 
dinner-mats adorned with robins seated on 
twigs ; rural cottages surrounded with trees ; 
foreign temples, and vague sea-views, all ex- 
ecuted in Indian ink ; a smoking-cap ; a pair 
even of ornamented braces, — without groaning 
in spirit over memories of black mail, levied 
in the name of fancy work, that are recalled 
by the sight. 

When however at a period, many years 
previous to the commencement of this story, 
Mrs. Larkins and her two maiden sisters, 
the Misses Healey, opened the circulating 
library to which reference has been made. 

84 The EarPs Promise, 

Kingslough was fairly non-plussed what to 
do with, what to say about them. In its 
way it was as bad as though an Agnew had 
started a mill, or a Eiley taken a shop and 
expressed his intention of serving behind a 
counter. The thing could not be concealed. 
There lay the awful communication, — 

'-''Have you heard,'' wrote Mrs. Lefroy, 
^'that the Healeys are going to lend out 
books?" and then of course it became that 
recipient's duty to write to some one else. 
'^ My dear, what do you think ? The Healeys 
are having shelves put up all round their front 
parlour, and intend making it into a public 
library," and so forth, and so forth, till at 
last some spinster more courageous or more 
inquisitive than her neighbours, went boldly 
and asked Mrs. Larkins what she meant by 
it all. 

Mrs. Larkins was equal to the occasion, she 
had not been left a widow twice for nothing. 

"- Yes ; it is very sad," she sighed, ^^ but we 
cannot give up our charities." 

[N'ow for many a long day the Healeys had. 

How the News arrived. 85 

on the plea of giving to the poor, let their 
first floor to an old bachelor who, dying one 
morning minus a will, left them without a 
legacy or a lodger. 

At once Kingslough accepted the Library, 
and its raison d'etre. The idea had been 
suggested and the means found for carrying it 
into effect by a dreadfully vulgar man who 
made money somehow out of flax, in a distant 
part of the kingdom, and who having been 
brother to the deceased Larkins had given 
many a stray pound note to Larkins' widow, 
but all this was discreetly kept in the back- 

^' We cannot give up our charities," settled 
the business satisfactorily at Kingslough, and 
why should it not have done so when every 
hour, even at the present enlightened day, 
men and women have, as a matter of common 
politeness, to swallow doses of social humbug 
as large if not larger. 

Not very long ago, the writer of this was 
expatiating to a friend on the bad taste of 
a wealthy and titled lady who not merely 

86 The EarPs Promise. 

insisted on writing very poor verses bnt ex- 
pected to be paid for them. 

" Ah ! it is for her charities ! " was the 
reply. " "What ! with an income of — ? " 
l^ot to be personal the amount shall remain 
blank. The reader, even if left to his internal 
consciousness, cannot fill it in at too high a 

^^Yes, she is so good; she gives so much 

In comparison to that what could Kings- 
lough offer? — Kingslough, which has, I am 
credibly informed, gone on with the times, and 
now prints its own newspaper, and has its 
books from Mudie. 

There was no Mudie when the Misses 
Healey converted the parlour of their ^'dear 
papa's " house into a room free to the public. 

A second door was put up, to enable the 
hall door to stand hospitably open, and soon 
their friends began to consider the Library 
a pleasant sort of place in which to meet 
and while away half an hour. They visited 
the Misses Healey, in fact, and borrowed a 

How the News arrived, 87 

book or so from them. And thus the ladies 
kept a roof over their heads, and retained 
their standing in society. If they did make 
charity an excuse, who amongst us, friends, 
has been so invariably straightforward that 
he shall dare to throw the first stone at 

Let the man who has never played with 
that which is worse than lying — equivoca- 
tion — stand up and condemn them. Charity 
begins at home, the worldly-wise tell us, and 
Mrs. Larkins and her sisters, who were in 
grievous need, bestowed it there. No beggar 
in the street was, after a fashion, poorer than 
they, and so they remembered their own 
need first. 

But when all this was done they had still 
something left ; a pot of jam for a sick child, 
a basin of soup for a weakly mother, tea- 
leaves with capabilities of tea still in them, 
for the old women, who loved their cup as 
their husbands loved their '^ glass ; " clothes 
shabby and thin and patched, it is true, but 
still clothes for some half-clad beggar, and 

88 The EarVs Promise. 

a few sliillmgs even it might be in the course 
of the year given in eases where nothing but 
money could be of any use. 

They gave what they could, and the beggars 
curtseyed to them, and even the young re- 
probates of the town — there were reprobates, 
alas ! in Kingslough, dull as it was — sometimes 
lifted their hats, and always refrained from 
jeering remarks when the deaf sister and the 
blind paced along the Parade arm-in-arm 

Further to the credit of the town, be it 
stated, certain hours were by the non-elite set 
apart for their own visits to the Library. 
These hours were either very early or very 
late. They did not wish to intrude when 
Miss Healey had visitors, and in return Miss 
Healey acted towards them the part of a 
mother, and only recommended them such 
books as she could warrant from previous 
perusal to be perfectly innocuous. 

Mrs. Larkins and Miss Healey might indeed 
safely have been planted guard, not merely 
over the morals of Kingslough, but of the then 
coming generation. 

How the News arrived. 89 

Could the old darlings rise from their graves, 
what would they think of the literature of 
the present day ? 

If a girl J attracted by a particularly taking 
title, remarked, laying hands on the book, ^'I 
think I will have that, Miss Healey," Miss 
Healey would turn upon her a wizened face, 
a pair of spectacles, and a brown front, and 

" My dear, you must not have that. It is a 
gentleman's book.'' 

What awful iniquity lay concealed under that 
phrase perhaps the gentlemen of Kingslough 
could have explained. Certain am I no woman 
in the place excepting Mrs. Larkins and her 
sisters knew. I^either did the '-' lower orders." 
Had Miss Healey belonged to the strictest 
sect of professing Christians, her spectacles 
could not more diligently have searched 
profitable and proper reading for the young 
men and the young women who, being able 
slowly and painfully to spell out a story, were 
willing to pay their hardly- earned pennies 
for the privilege of doing so. 

90 The EarPs Promise, 

No new novels found their way to Kings- 
lough. The youngest Miss Healey's shelves 
boasted must have been at least ten years 
of age, but they were fresh to the subscribers 
as the last work of fiction published. As 
a rule Miss Kate Healey, who was deaf, 
read aloud to her two sisters, but occasionally 
books would arrive, some scenes in which 
trenched so closely on their forbidden ground, 
that Miss Healey would decide against their 
public perusal, and undertake herself silently 
to grapple with the enemy. 

As a woman twice married ("To think of 
it," as Grace Moffat observed, "while so many 
women never are married even once "), on Mrs. 
Larkins this duty would naturally have de- 
volved, but time and other causes had 
rendered her eye-sight so bad that reading 
was impossible. 

Indeed she could not find any other means 
of employing the shining hours except knit- 
ting; and " How thankful I ought to be," 
said the poor lady, "that I learned to knit 
while I could seel" And accordingly, morning, 

How the News arrived. 9 1 

noon, and night, she plied her needles in- 
cessantly. Counterpanes, curtains, shawls, 
reticules, purses, grew under her bony fingers. 
Miss Kate read the tenderest love passages to 
the accompaniment of those clicking needles ; 
and while Miss Healey, in the interests of 
public morality, was silently perusing some 
questionable scene, that everlasting knitting 
still made way. 

Three busily idle women were those sisters ; 
always at work, and yet always at leisure, 
always ready to hear news, equally ready to 
repeat news. They were to Kingslough as 
Eeuter to the civilized world. The Library 
was the central telegraph office of the day 
to the little town. Had it ever occurred to 
the Misses Healey to issue a newspaper, they 
might have produced edition after edition 
containing the very latest intelligence concern- 
ing the last piece of scandal. 

To them, late on the evening of that 
summer's day when this story opens, entered, 
in great haste, a burly, red-faced, hearty-look- 
ing man, arrayed in a driving-coat, and having 
a large kerchief muffled about his neck. 

92 The EarPs Pro77iise, 

^'My compliments, ladies, your most 
obedient servant," he said, -with a sort of 
rough gallantry which set upon him not amiss, 
uncovering at the same time, and holding his 
hat in his hand in a manner which might put 
a modern dandy to shame. ^^ I want you to 
find me a book for my little wife. Plenty 
of love, and millinery, and grand society ; 
you know her taste, Miss Healey. I am in a 
hurry, for I stopped longer at Braher fair than 
I intended, and my poor girl always thinks 
some accident has happened to me if I am late: 
Thank you. I knew you could lay hands on 
what I asked for in a minute,'' and he was 
about to depart, when Mrs. Larkins, full of 
the one subject of the day, interposed with — 

*' Oh ! Mr. Mooney, and what do you think 
about this sad affair ? " 

'-^ What sad affair ? " he inquii-ed. 

*' Dear ! dear ! haven't you heard ? " ex- 
claimed Miss Healey and Mrs. Larkins in 
amiable unison. '-'' Miss O'Hara has been 
missing ever since ten o'clock this morning, 
and no one knows what has happened to her." 

How the News arrived. 

'-'- Miss O'Hara ? " he repeated. ''Miss Riley's 
niece ? a pretty young lady with a quantity of 
light hair ? " and he made a gesture supposed 
to indicate curls flowing over the shoulder. 

" Yes ; and they have been dragging the 

''And watching the tide," added Miss 

" And poor dear Miss Eiley is heart- 

" And she has sent for General Eiley." 

'' I am very much mistaken if I did not see 
the young lady this morning," said Mr. 
Mooney, a serious expression overclouding his 
frank, jovial face. 

" You ? oh, Mr. Mooney ! where ? " cried the 
two ladies. 

" Why, driving along the Kilcullagh Eoad 

" With whom ? " in a shriek. 

"With Mr. Dan Brady. I thought I had 
seen the young lady's face somewhere before, 
but his mare trotted past me so quick I could 
not identify it at the moment. Now, however, 

94 The EarPs Promise. 

I am sure the lady was Miss O'Hara." There 
was a moment's silence. 

^' He must have abducted her, then," broke 
out the sisters, but Mr. Mooney shook his 

^' It is a bad job, I am afraid," he observed ; 
^^ but she has good friends, that is one comfort. 
I do not think my little woman will want 
to read any novels to-night. Miss Healey, 
when I tell her this story. I am sorry, ay, 
that I am." And with another bow, for the 
Misses Healey were too high and mighty 
personages for him to offer his hand, Mr. 
Mooney, with the books in his capacious 
pockets, passed out into the street, mounted 
his gig, untied the reins he had knotted round 
the- rail of the dash-board, said, ^' Now, Eory," 
to his horse, a great powerful roan, and started 
off towards home at a good round pace, think- 
ing the while how grieved his delicate wife 
would be to hear of this great trouble which 
had befallen respeotable people. 

^'It is enough to make a man glad he 
has none of his own," murmured Mr. Mooney 

How the News arrived. 95 

to himself, in strict confidencej ^nd this must 
be considered as going great lengths, since 
if Mr. Mooney had one bitter drop in his cup, 
it was the fact that no living child had ever 
been bom to him; that he had neither son, 
nor daughter, nothing to love or to love him 
except the little ^^wife," who beguiled the 
weary hours of her invalid existence with 
stories of lords and ladies, of fond men and 
foolish maidens, of brave attire and brilliant 
halls, of everything farthest removed from the 
actual experience of her own monotonous, 
though most beautiful and pathetic life. 

Meanwhile Miss Healey having screamed 
the tidings brought by Mr. Mooney into Miss 
Kate's least deaf ear, the three stood for a 
moment, so to say, at arms. 

*^Anne," said Mrs. Larkins at length, '^Miss 
Eiley ought to know this,'' but Anne shrank 
back appalled at the idea of being the bearer 
of such tidings. 

"Some one ought to go after them now, this 
minute," said Miss Kate. 

" Poor, poor Miss Riley ! " exclaimed Miss 

g6 The EarPs Proinise. 

Healey. ^' Yes," began Mrs. Larkins im- 
patiently, ^Hhat is all very well, but some- 
thing should be done." 

^^nitell you what,' exclaimed Miss Healey, 
fairly driven into a corner, which might excuse, 
though not perhaps justify her form of speech. 
*^I'll tell you what. I'll put on my bonnet and 
shawl, and let Jane know what we have heard." 

^^ The very best thing you could do," said 
Mrs. Larkins. So Miss Healey limped slowly 
off and told that '^ delightful Jane " the news. 




By the time Miss Healey, attended by her 
maid Sarah (although Mrs. Larkins and her 
sisters had astonished the proprieties of Kings- 
lough by opening a library, they would never 
have dreamt of outraging them by roaming 
about the streets after dusk unprotected), 
arrived at Miss Eiley's abode, that lady was in 
bed and asleep, lulled thereto by the united 
effects of excitement and that modest table- 
spoonful of sherry which Jane always mixed 
with the gruel she had nightly, for some 
dozen years previously, prepared for her 

VOL. I. H 

98 The EarPs Promise, 

After mature deliberation Jane decided to 
let her sleep on. 

^'It would be only breaking her night's 
rest," she said to Miss Healey, ^^ and what 
could an ould lady like her do at this time of 
night ? '' 

'^ What, indeed ! or even in the morning," 
answered Miss Healey, in a tone of the most 
profound despondency, whilst Sarah in the 
rear murmured sympathetically, '-'- The cray- 

^' But I'll just slip on my bonnet," continued 
Jane, ''and turn the key, and put it in my 
pocket, and run down and tell the Colonel ; 
some knowledgeable person ought to know 
about it," and suiting her actions to her words, 
Jane dived back into the kitchen, took up her 
bonnet and shawl, and returning to the front 
door, resumed her conversation with Miss 
Healey, while she tied her strings and threw 
her shawl about her. It was thus she made 
her toilette. 

" You're not afraid of leaving your mis- 
tress ? " suggested Miss Healey, delicately in- 

Mr» Riley^s Prospects. 99 

terrogative. Three as they were, such a thing 
had never happened to one of the sisters, as 
finding herself alone in the house after dark. 

''Oh! I shan't be away five minutes. Miss," 
an"Swered Jane confidently, as she closed the 
door and put the key in her pocket, and trotted 
ofi* along the Parade, after bidding Miss Healey 
''Good night," leaving that lady all uncon- 
scious that it had been Jane's regular practice, 
when her mistress was settled, and Miss Eiley 
settled very early indeed, to go out and have 
a gossip with her friends, not for five minutes 
only, but for many fives. 

A willing servant, always good-tempered, 
always ready to wait upon that poor, feeble 
old lady, thankful for small wages, content 
with frugal fare, — a pattern domestic, but 
human nevertheless. And being human, the 
monotony of that monotonous existence would 
have been insupportable but for those stolen 
half-hours, of the theft of which Xettie O'Hara 
had been long aware. 

And it was the knowledge of this fact which 
put a sting into Jane's words when speaking 


lOO The EarPs Promise, 

of the girPs elopement. She had trusted 
Kettie — perforce perhaps — but still she had 
trusted her with a confession of various visits, 
and interviews, and appointments, which she 
could not well confide to her mistress, and 
Nettie, having a secret herself, had heard all 
the servant found to say, and kept her own 
counsel the while. 

Had she chosen any other man than Daniel 
Brady, and confided her love to Jane, Jane 
could have forgiven her ; but she had chosen 
Daniel Brady and kept her confidence from 
Jane, therefore that model servant was very 
bitter indeed in her denunciation of Miss 
O'Hara's slyness. 

^' And to think that never a one of us should 
have guessed it," said Jane, in declamation to 
Colonel and Mrs. Perris. ^' Always with her 
books, as the mistress and me thought, taking 
them with her when she went to bathe, carry- 
ing them to the shore when she had a spare 
hour, and the tide was out, sitting in the par- 
lour all by herself with her writing books and 
such like, I am sure I could have taken mv 

Mr, Riley's Prospects. loi 

Bible oath she had never so much as thought 
of a sweetheart. And that she should have 
taken up with the likes of him. It was lone- 
some for her/' added the woman, with a vivid 
memory of the unutterable loneliness and 
dreariness of that silent house recurring as she 
spoke. ^' It was lonesome, but sure if she had 
only waited, many a gentleman would have 
been proud and happy to marry an O'Hara, 
even if she hadn't a halfpenny to her fortune." 

^^ It is a bad business, if true," said Colonel 
Perris. '^ Let us hope it is not true." 

" I am afeard it is true enough," Jane, who 
was beginning to be ^^wise afterwards," ex- 
claimed; '^and the poor mistress will never 
hold up her head again. Can nothing be done, 

^' Not by me," answered Colonel Perris de- 
cidedly. ^' Miss O'Hara is no relation of mine, 
and I cannot interfere ; " and feeling that this 
speech naturally terminated the interview, 
Jane, after executing a curtsey, left the room, 
and, true to her determination of not leaving 
Miss Eiley alone for a longer period than she 

I02 The EarPs Pro772ise, 

could avoid, hurried back to that dark, silent 
house, from out of which Xettie O'Hara had 
taken whatever of sunshine her youth and 
beauty could confer, for ever. 

"" I will write a line to the General," said 
Colonel Ferris to his^ wife, after a few mo- 
ments' silence, " and then wash my hands of 
the whole business. Shall I begin my com- 
munication as Jane did hers?" ^ One says 
Miss O'Hara has gone off; ' what a convenient 
phrase, commits no person, and imparts an air 
of mystery to the whole proceeding ! I will 
not commit myself to the names of informants 
at all events," and the Colonel wrote : — 

^^DearEiley, — Eumour will have it that 
your pretty young cousin has eloped with, or 
been carried off by, Mr. Daniel Brady. I 
trust Rumour is in error, but at the same time 
think you ought to know what she says. Cer- 
tain it is Miss Nettie disappeared mysteriously 
this morning, and has not since been heard 


" Yours faithfully, 

^' Frederick Ferris " 

Mr, Riley'' s Prospects. 1O3 

'' That will bring him if Miss Riley's shaky 
complaint does not," remarked the writer, 
folding up the letter, which was written on a 
great sheet of paper such as one never sees 
nowadays, sealing it with red wax, and 
stamping that wax with a huge crest. ''Tim 
shall ride over with it first thing to-morrow 

" And then," suggested Mrs. Ferris. 
'' Then it will be for the family to decide 
what is best to be done," said the Colonel 
significantly. '' I am very much mistaken in 
Mr. Brady if there be no need of family inter- 

'' Oh ! Fred," exclaimed his wife. 
'' Well, my dear," he answered, then find- 
ing she made no further remark, he went on, 
— '-'- Foor Nettie ! She has done an evil day's 
work for herself, I am afraid. So far as I can 
judge of the affair now, whether she be married 
or whether she be not, I would rather have 
seen her taken out of the Black Stream dead, 
than heard the news that woman brought here 

I04 The EarPs Promise, 

"' What is this Mr. Brady, then ? " inquired 
his wife. 

'-^ Simply the worst man between Kings- 
lough and the Cove of Cork," was the reply. 
"If that description be not comprehensive 
enough, say the worst man between Kings- 
lough and St. Petersburg." 

'•'- How could the girl have become acquainted 
with — with such a person ? " 

"Why, what sort of guardian was that 
doting, sightless, decrepit old woman, for a 
girl like Nettie ? She might have had a hun- 
dred lovers and nobody been the wiser." 

"But, my dear, how many other girls are 
similarly situated, and it never occui's to any- 
one to imagine that harm will happen to 

"How many other girls?" he repeated, 
" very few I should hope." 

" Take Grace Moffat for instance — " 

" Grace Moffat ! How utterly you mistake 
the position. It was a leap, I admit, for him 
to speak to ISTettie O'Hara, but he dared not 
have said even so much as good morning to 

Mr, Riley's Prospects. 105 

Grace Moffat. You never will understand 
Irish ways or Irish ideas. Supposing a re- 
spectable man in trade had cast eyes on Miss 
Nettie, and offered himself to her family as her 
future husband, the Eileys and all who were 
interested in the girl might have lamented 
the necessity, but they would have accepted 
the man. But suppose a man in that rank 
offered himself to Grace Moffat ? Why, there 
is not a labourer at Bayview who would not 
resent such an offer as a personal insult. 
Grace may marry whom she pleases. With 
Nettie it was a question of marrying whom 
she could. Of what use is beauty in a land 
where a poor man fears to admire ? I put 
it to you, Lucy, is there a man in our station 
in Kingslough or twelve miles round, who 
could marry for love without money, unless 
he wished to make his wife and himself miser- 

^^ What a misfortune to be an heiress ! " 
sighed his wife. 

'-'- That sigh is not fair, Lucy," he said, 
eagerly ; ^' you know I should not have 

io6 The EarPs Promi 


asked the richest woman living to marry me 
had I not loved her for herself, but wedding 
portionless wives with us Irish is just like 
looking into shop windows. The articles 
may be very beautiful, and we acknowledge 
they are so, but we cannot afford them ; they 
are not suitable for poor men. Had this 
been otherwise, l^ettie never would have been 
intended for a governess. India, or a situa- 
tion. If India be impossible, as it was in her 
case, then a situation. No man in her own 
rank dared have taken her to wife, and so she 
was fain to flee from the delights of being a 
pupil-teacher, even with Daniel Brady ; whilst 
Grace Moffat, possessed of not one-half her 
beauty — one-tenth indeed — may pick and 
choose, can afford to keep on shilly-shallying 
with John Eiley." 

'' My love, you make a mistake," said Mrs. 
Ferris, rousing herself into a state of active 
opposition, '' Grace Moffat will be a magnifi- 
cent woman." 

" Pooh ! Lucy, what she may be hereafter 
signifies nothing, what she is now signifies 

3fr, Riley s Prospects. 107 

everything. With Nettie O'Hara's beauty 
and her own position, she might have married 
Eobert Somerford. As it is — " 

^^ There, do not speak another word. Eobert 
Somerford, indeed ! That idle, good-for-no- 
thing, verse-writing, harp-playing, would-be 
man of fashion ; Eobert Somerford, a man 
without a fortune, a profession, or a trade ; no 
match, in my opinion, even for your pink- 
and-white beauty, certainly no match for my 
charming Grace.'' 

*^ I see nothing charming about her," was 
the reply. 

'' That is because you are a man," said Mrs. 
Ferris calmly. *^ Give her the chance, and 
ten years hence she will be the queen of 
society ; but that is just what men cannot 
understand. They want a woman ready made. 
"They cannot believe that the sort of beauty 
they admire in a girl in her teens will not 
last, cannot last. IN'ow Grace's loveliness will 
ripen day by day." 

^^You are eloquent," interrupted her hus- 
band, laughing. 

io8 The EarPs Pn 


'^ So will other people be on the same sub- 
ject hereafter," persisted the lady. 

^^ Perhaps so," he replied, ^' but I cannot 
say I agree with you. I have no spirit of 
phrophecy, and in my opinion Grace is as 
plain as Nettie is pretty." 

'' Pretty, yes ; not that I ever did, or ever 
shall admire a girl whose only claims to beauty 
consist in a pink-and-white complexion, eyes 
as large as saucers and as blue as the heavens, 
and long golden curls. I detest blue eyes and 
golden hair, and I abominate curls." 

'' Well, my dear, we need not quarrel about 
the matter. I suspect neither of us will see 
much more of the poor child's eyes and curls. 
I only hope Eiley will give the fellow a good 
horsewhipping. ' ' 

^^That would not benefit her," said Mrs. 

^' I am not sure of that," answered her hus- 

Biding into Kingslough the next morning, 
Mr. John Eiley felt quite of the Colonel's 
opinion. There was nothing he desired so 

Mr, Riley's Prospects. 109 

much as opportunity and provocation to thrash 
the man who had stolen away his cousin. 

An insult had been offered through her to 
the whole of her relations. Longingly, when 
he heard the news, did General Eiley's eyes 
turn towards his pistols ; then remembering 
the degeneracy of the days he had lived to see, 
he muttered an ejaculation which had little 
beside brevity to recommend it, and asked his 
son, '-'- What are we to do ? " 

^^ Follow them,'' was the quiet reply; but 
there was a significance in the way Mr. Eiley 
wound the thong of his whip round his hand, 
that gave a second meaning to his words. 

'-'- 1 wish I could go with you," said the 
elder man, ^' but this confounded gout always 
lays me by the heels whenever there is any 
work to do." 

^' Never mind, sir ; you may trust me," an- 
swered his son, laying an unmistakable em- 
phasis on the last four words. 

^' You had better wait, and have some break- 
fast. Jack ; the old lady never gives one any- 
thing except a cup of weak tea and a slice of 
brown bread and butter." 

I lo The JBarPs Pi^omise, 

^^No. I will hear what fresh news there 
may be, and then ask Mrs. Hartley to give me 
something to eat." 

'•'- 1 think you must be in love with that 
woman," said his father. 

^' I am afraid she is the only woman who is 
in love with me," was the reply, uttered 
lightly, yet with a certain bitterness, and, 
having so spoken, Mr. John Eiley walked 
across the hall, mounted his horse, and, fol- 
lowed by Tim, went down the drive at a smart 

Grace Moffat was wont to say, a little con- 
temptuously, that '^any man could ride." Had 
her sight been a little more impartial, she 
would have acknowledged that few men, even 
in Ireland, could ride like John Eiley. But 
Miss Grace had her own ideal of what a male 
human being should be, and the lover popular 
rumour assigned to her did not, in the least 
degree, fulfil that ideal. She liked black curly 
hair, dark dreamy eyes, a dark complexion, a 
slight figure ; and John's hair was straight and 
brown, his eyes grey and keen, his frame 

Mr, Riley's Prospects. iii 

strong and well knit. Her ideal had hands 
small and delicate, like those of a woman, feet 
which it was a wonder to behold, his voice 
was soft and pleading, whilst John — well, all 
that could be said in John's favour she summed 
up in three words, — ^' He was good;" and 
Grace was not the first woman who thought — 
any more than she will be the last to think — 
goodness an exceedingly negative sort of virtue. 
But if Grace did not love John, he loved 
her. The affection was all one-sided — it gene- 
rally is — and the young man comprehended 
the fact. 

As he rode along the hard, firm road, his 
thoughts keeping time to the beat of his horse's 
feet, he took his resolution. Young though 
Grace was, he would ask her to be his wife, 
and if she refused, he meant to leave Ireland. 

Considering his nation, considering his birth, 
considering his surroundings, considering the 
ideas of those with whom he was thrown in 
contact, this young man, with the straight 
brown hair and features far from faultless, was 
gifted with wonderful common sense. 

112 Tlie EarPs Promise, 

Much as he loved Grace Moffat, and how he 
loved her no one save himself could tell, he 
could not afford to let any woman spoil the 
whole of his future life. He could not drag 
on his present useless, purposeless existence, 
even for the pleasure of perpetually seeing 

He was young : and the years stretched out 
indefinitely before him. How could he live 
through them if he had no goal to reach, no 
object to remember having achieved ? 

This matter of Nettie O'Hara's put his own 
affairs into a tangible shape before him. Sup- 
pose, after he had waited and waited, and 
trusted and hoped, Grace chose some other 
man than himself — not like Daniel Brady, of 
course, but equally undeserving — what should 
he do ? How should he endure the days, the 
months, the years which must succeed ? 

No ! he would end it. Pink-and-white de- 
mureness itself, personified, had made her 
choice without consulting anybody, and why 
should not Grace, who was older and wiser, 
and who mud know, and who did know, that 

Mr, Riley's Prospects, 1 1 3 

everybody in Kingslough had assigned her to 

Ay, there was ^^ mischief. Young ladies 
do not like to be assigned. If Kingslough 
could only have kept silence ; but then Kings- 
lough never did keep silence. Well, he would 
try ; he would take advantage of this terrible 
trouble which had befallen her friend, and avail 
himself of a time when he knew Grace must 
be full of sorrow, to speak to her about her 
own future and his. 

Yes ; whether together or apart, it meant 
hers and his. If she sent him adrift, he would 
try to make of that future something even 
she need not have been ashamed to share. 
If he wore the willow, it should be next his 
heart — other leaves he would wear where 
men could see them, where she might hear of 

And this feeling governed his reply to Mrs. 
Hartley, when across the breakfast-table she 
said to him gravely, — 

^^ John, you ought to marry Grace Moffat 

VOL. I. I 

114 The EarPs Promise, 

'^ I mean to do so if she consents," was his 

^^ She is very young," remarked Mrs. Hart- 
ley, who did not quite like his tone. 

'^ She is old enough to know her own mind," 
he retorted quickly, then added, '' I am sick 
of this uncertainty ; she must end it one way 
or another." 

^' You expect her to say ^ No ' ? " 

'^ I expect her to say ^ No,' " he agreed. 

'^ But you will not take that as final ? " 

'-'' I shall take it as final," he said, after a 
pause, speaking slowly and deliberately, ^^ Grace 
is no coquette. If she likes me she will tell 
me so ; if she does not — " 

^^ If she does not," repeated Mrs. Hartley. 

^^ I must find something — not a girl — that 
will like me and that I can like. Love is not 
everything, Mrs. Hartley, though it is a great 
deal. I cannot help thinking that the man 
who lets any woman wreck the whole of his 
life for him is very little better than a cow- 

*^John Eiley," said the widow solemnly. 

Mr. Riley's Prospects, 

"you may thank heaven I am an old woman, 
or I should marry you whether you liked it or 

"Dear Mrs. Hartley," he answered, "if you 
were quarter of a century younger, or I quar- 
ter of a century older, I should propose for 
you at once. Wherever I am, wherever I go, 
I shall always esteem it a privilege to have 
known you." 

"Do not go anywhere," she said. "Marry 
Grace and settle down." But he only shook 
his head, helping himself to another slice of 
ham the while. 

After all, he was a prosaic lover, Mrs. 
Hartley, spite of her partiality, could not help 
admitting. She was a woman, and so over- 
looked many facts she might otherwise have 
been expected to remember. 

First, he had ridden eight Irish miles, fasting; 
and eight miles, on a bright summer morning, 
with the fresh wind blowing, was sufficient to 
give an appetite to a young fellow, in good 
health, who was innocent, moreover, of the 
then almost universal vice of hard drinking 
ever night. i 2 

1 1 6 The EarPs Promise. 

Second, this matter of Grace had been to 
liim like a long toothache, which he could 
endure no longer. He must either have the 
tooth out, or know it could be cured. Grace 
must decide to have him for her lover, or do 
without him altogether. It might be very- 
well for her to have him hanging about 
Bayview, accompanying her and her elderly 
maiden cousin to jQiower-shows, launches, 
picnics, regattas, and other mild dissipations, 
but his idle, purposeless life was ruining his 
worldly prospects. 

Had he meant to stay on at Woodbrook till 
his father's death left that already heavily 
mortgaged estate his property, the case might 
have been different, but John Eiley intended 
to do nothing of the sort. He was fully de- 
termined to make money. He was weary of 
the shifts that cruel interest compelled his 
family to practise. He could not be blind to 
the fact that by reason of the pressure put 
upon him, his father was forced to put a pres- 
sure upon his tenants — bad for the land — in- 
jurious to them. 

Mr. Riley s Prospects. 1 1 7 

There was no money to do anything except 
pay the interest upon that debt which had not 
been incurred by them, which had been hung 
round the neck of that lovely estate by a 
former Eiley as reckless as prodigal, as cruel 
to those who were to follow after as any 
Glendare lying in Ballyknock Abbey. 

There was no money — not a shilling to 
spare ; father and son, mother and daughters, 
all had to bow under the yoke of that tyrant 
mortgage. There was no money to drain ; no 
money to improve the land, and so enable it to 
yield its increase. The landlord was poor, and 
the tenants as a natural consequence were poor 
likewise, and John Eiley, proud and impulsive, 
chafed under the bitterness of his lot, and 
would have left the country long before to try 
and win Fortune's smiles in other lands, but 
his love for Grace prevented him. 

Once upon a time — no long time previously 
to that morning when he sate at breakfast with 
Mrs. Hartley, it had seemed to the young man 
a good thing to consider that when he married 
Grace Moffat, he would secure at once the girl 

1 1 8 The EarPs Promise, 

lie loved and sufficient money to lighten the 
mortgage at Woodbrook, but a casual remark 
let drop by Miss Nettie O'Hara, who under- 
stood her friend at least as well as her friend 
understood Nettie, opened his eyes to the fact 
that Grace Moffat attached quite as much 
importance to her "- dot " as any one of her 

" It is a thousand pities Grace's grand- 
father left her such a quantity of money," 
said demure but deep-seeing Miss O'Hara; 
'-'- she would have been so much happier 
without a halfpenny. I am certain she will 
never marry any man who cannot in some 
shape or other lay down as much as 

Now there was a significance in the way 
Nettie uttered this sentence which set Mr. 
John Eiley thinking — what had he to lay 
down against Grace's fortune ? Himself — ah ! 
but then there was Grace's self — and her 
fortune still remained. 

To the ordinary Irishman of that period — 
handsome, gallant, well bred, easy mannered — 

Mr, Riley^s Prospects, 1 1 g 

himself would have seemed a fair equivalent 
for the most beautiful woman and the finest 
fortune combined ; but then, John Eiley was 
not an ordinary Irishman, and Grace had in 
her foolish little head certain notions in 
advance of her time which did not tend to 
make her any happier. 

For after all to be discreetly trustful is the 
best quality a woman can possess, and Grace 
did not quite trust John Eiley any more than 
she loved him. 

He did not possess the easy assurance — the 
confident self-assertion which usually marked 
his class. He was one of the exceptional men 
— one cast in the same mould as those who 
before and since have fought for their adopted 
mother, England, and saved her from defeat on 
many a hardly contested battle-field. So far 
as courage went he was made of the same stuff 
as those who fought the Affghans and stormed 
the Eedan, and rode with the six hundred, and 
endured the lingering torments of Lucknow, 
and never talked of their courage or their 
patience afterwards ; but he was ignorant of 

I20 The EarPs Promise. 

many things calculated, in those days es- 
pecially, to win, by reason of their rarity, 
favour in a woman's eyes. 

Even with his small stock, however, of 
drawing-room accomplishments, had he been 
more demonstrative, had he paraded his 
abilities, had he, to use a very homely phrase, 
made much of himself, perhaps Grace might 
have viewed him through more loving 
spectacles. As it was, she did not care for 
him at all in the way he cared for her. She 
saw the good kindly-natured John, possessed of 
encumbered acres and a somewhat plain face, 
and she was amiable enough to let him bask 
in the smiles of an heiress until such time as 
it suited the heiress to warn him off. 

"Without any malice prepense., be it clearly 
understood. If Grace had her ideal, that ideal 
certainly was not realized in the person of any 
man she ever expected to marry, or thought of 
marrying. She had not brought marrying home 
to herself in any way. She was romantic — 
given to solitary wanderings in the twilight 
and by moonlight along the terraced walk, 

Mr. Riley s Prospects. 121 

bordered by myrtles, strewed with the leaves 
of the gum cistus flower, which blooms and 
fades in a day, fragrant with the scent of 
syringa, — that overlooked the bay: There she 
dreamt her dreams — there she recited to her- 
self scraps of poetry — detached verses that 
had caught her fancy — there she murmured 
snatches of songs, all melancholy, all breathing 
the language of unchanging love and endless 

'' Opinion," remarks one of the wittiest of 
our living* satirists, " does not follow language 
— but language opinion ; " and if this be 
true as regards sentiment likewise, and doubt- 
less it is, we cannot, judging from our songs, 
compliment the present generation either on its 
simplicity or its romance. 

Foolish enough were the words young ladies 
warbled forty years since — but there was a 
tenderness and a grace and a fitness about the 
ditties of that long ago time which we seek in 
vain in modern verses. One merit at least 

* Dead, alas ! since the above lines wore written. 

122 The EarPs Promise. 

was formerly possessed by the music and the 
story linked to music, that of intelligibility. 
Now when the story is intelligible, it is 

!N'ot Kuch of an ear could John Eiley 
boast, yet he loved to listen to Grace's 
singing, and hearkened with something be- 
tween a pang and a hope to the little thrills 
of melody into which she would break — 
just as a bird breaks into a vocal ecstasy — 
while they walked through the rose-laden 
gardens, or floated, oars uplifted, over the 
moonlit sea, the water diamonds dripping from 
them, making an accompaniment to the last 
soft notes of the duet sung by his sister and 

And there were sights and sounds and scents 
that for years he could scarcely endure by 
reason of the memories they recalled — simple 
things — moonlight on the water — a sprig of 
myrtle starred with white flowers — a spray of 
jessamine, nestling in the folds of a white 
dress — the words of a familiar song. Well, 
few people marry their first love, and if 

J/;-. Riley's Prospects, 123 

they do, they generally repent that their 
love was compliant. 

But John Riley had not yet fallen on 
those evil days in which memory was fraught 
with bitterness, although vaguely his sense 
foreshadowed them, when seated opposite to 
Mrs. Hartley he ate his breakfast with as much 
appetite as though, to quote that lady's mental 
observation, there were no such things in the 
world as love and disappointment, and marred 
lives and broken hearts ! 




If, in the postchaise-and-four days, any record 
was kept of the number of runaway couples 
who were overtaken before the matrimonial 
knot could be tied, time has failed to preserve 
those statistics for us. From all which can be 
learned, however, it seems difficult to avoid 
the conclusion that in ninety-nine cases out 
of a hundred angry parents and disgusted 
guardians might as well have saved their 
money and spared their cattle. 

Given a few hours' start, swift horses, and 
sound linch-pins, who could hope to overtake 
the fugitives ? Most probably irate elders started 

On the Terrace. 125 

in pursuit prompted by two motives, — one 
because it looked well to follow, even thougli 
the chase was useless, — the other because it 
gave them something to do. No reason, 
beyond these, presents itself sufficient to ac- 
count for all the wild racing and chasing that was 
carried on at one period of the world's history. 

To a more matter-of-fact generation, it seems 
unintelligible why old gentlemen, and still 
older ladies, should have risen at unwonted 
hours, and started off in frantic and hopeless 
pursuit of a pair of fleeing lovers, when they 
might just as well have had out their ^' second 
sleep " in peace, and awaited intelligence 
beside the domestic hearth, instead of posting, 
at considerable inconvenience and expense, 
over bleak moorland roads, to obtain the same 
identical news. 

Eiding as fast as his horse could take him, 
to Kilcurragh, Mr. John Eiley had, like other 
enemies of " Love's young Dream," only two 
ideas in his mind — to discover the fugitives, 
and to punish the male offender. 

Eiding back, extremely slowly, from that 

126 The EarPs Promise. 

undesirable seaport, after verifying the fact of 
two persons answering to tlie description of 
Nettie and her companion having left Kil- 
curragh the previous evening by ^'that fast- 
sailing steamship," so the proprietors worded 
their bills, ^ Einn McCoul,' he felt much like 
one who, having gone out fox-hunting, has 
seen no fox to hunt — who, having taken his 
gun to shoot, has started nothing whereat 
to fire. 

Although no vessel followed the ^ Finn 
McCoul ' for three days, when the ' Saint 
Patrick,' then peacefully lying alongside a 
Scotch quay, would steam in the pleasant 
eventide down the Bay, on her way to that 
narrow channel which divides one people from 
another, it was quite practicable for Mr. Riley 
to have chartered some description of ship — 
say, even a collier — to take him, in swift 
pursuit, to the Land of Cakes. That is to say, 
it would have been practicable had Mr. Riley 
possessed enough of this world's wealth to pay 
his expenses ; but the young man had no 
money to speak of, and supposing the case 

On the Terrace, 127 

different, it is improbable that he would have 
thrown away bank-notes so foolishly. 

No ; the evil was done. All the yachts in 
creation could not make a better of it now. 
-She had run away with him ; she, an O'Hara, 
connected with many and many a good 
family, with one of those wicked, dissolute, 
shameless Bradys, who had for years and 
years been casting off from them bit by 
bit, shred after shred, the mantle of family 
respectability in which they had once been 
proud to wrap themselves. 

She had gone off, blue eyes, pink cheeks, 
golden hair, demure looks, with a man of 
notoriously bad character, with whom she had 
scarcely a chance of happiness ; but that was 
her concern, and now hers only. They were 
.gone where, at all events, matrimony was very 
easy. That, in itself, was a good feature in 
the case, since, if he did not intend to 
marry the girl, why should he take her to 
a land where unions, very hard to break, 
were very easily formed. 

"When he returned to the few ancestral acres 

128 The EarPs Promise. 

the extravagance of his progenitors had left 
him, it wonld be time enough to require that 
a more binding marriage, according to Irish 
ideas, than a mere acknowledgment of Xettie 
being his wife should take place. On the 
whole, she having elected to elope, perhaps it 
was quite as well things were as they were. 
There had been no scene ; his horsewhip was 
available for further service ; society would be 
satisfied that, so far as a Brady could mean or 
do rightly, Daniel of that name had meant 
rightly by, and done rightly to, IN'ettie O'Hara. 
A grave scandal had been averted by Mr. 
Brady's choice of a honeymoon route ; never- 
theless, Mr. Eiley felt disappointed. 

If a man go out to fight, it is intelligible 
that he should lament finding no enemy to 
encounter. To have ridden all those long 
miles, and found nothing to do at the end of 
the journey, was enough to try the patience 
of a more patient individual than John Eiley. 
His common sense told him it was well ; his 
Irish sense felt disgusted. He should have to 
return to his father, and, in answer to his 
expectant ^^Well?" reply, — 

On the Terrace. 129 

'^They started for Scotland yesterday, and 
as I could not swim across the channel^ liere I 
am, no further forward than I was when I left.'' 

Still it was better. 

John could not help acknowledging this as 
he gave his horse to Colonel Perris' man, and 
in answer to the Colonel's inquiry whether he 
had any news of his cousin, answered, — 

'' Oh ! it is all right. They left by the 
Scotch steamer last night. She might have 
written, though, I think, and saved me the ride." 

And the same to Mrs. Mynton and Mrs. Le- 
froy, whom he met on his way to the Parade, 
and to Miss Eiley, who said she '^ never could 
have believed it of !N'ettie, never ! " adding, 
^' it is very hard on me at my age," to which, 
with a shake of her poor old head and brown 
front — people had not then arrived at that 
pitch of modern civilisation, grey false hair — 
she appended, 

" Ah ! girls were very different when I was 
young — very." 

Considering the miles of time that stretched 
behind the period of her youth and of her age, 

VOL. I. z 

The EarVs Promise, 

John Eiley might be excused if he muttered 
to himself that it was improbable she could 
have the smallest memory of what girls had 
been like at the remote epoch referred to. 

Somehow the intense dreariness and patched 
poorness of that sad house had never impressed 
the young man with such a feeling of compas- 
sion for I^ettie as he experienced when he 
found himself once more on the Parade, with 
the sea glittering and dancing at his feet. The 
faded carpets, the dingy paint, the darned 
table-covers, the spindle-legged tables, the dark, 
high-backed chairs, were fitting accessories to 
the picture which, years and years afterwards, 
remained in his memory of a feeble, palsied, 
half-doting old woman, who kept mumbling 
and maundering on, concerning the girls of 
her far-away youth, and the ingratitude of 
Nettie, who had made, in her desperation, 
such a leap in the dark. 

" It was a miserable home for any young 
thing," said John compassionately to Mrs. 
Hartley, ^^ and no future to look forward to 
except that of being a teacher. I never was 

On the Terrace, 1 3 i 

very fond of Nettie, but upon my word I do 
not think I ever felt so sorry for anybody as I 
did for the little girl to-day — thinking of what 
a life hers must have been." 

'^ I was always fond of Nettie," Mrs. Hart- 
ley remarked, '' and have always been sorry 
for her — I am more sorry for her now, how- 
ever. She has taken a step in haste, which I 
feel certain she will repent at her leisure, 
through every hour of her future life." 

This was at dinner — twice in that one day 
had John Eiley to ai^ail himself of the widow's 
abundant hospitality. He knew he could not 
thus make sure of that of Mr. Moffat — who 
although an Englishman, a Liberal, and abun- 
dantly blessed with this world's goods, liked 
friends to come after dinner, and to go away 
before supper, for which reason his daughter's 
suitor usually paid his visits soon after break- 
fast, soon after luncheon — a very meagre meal 
indeed at Bayview, as in many of the houses 
across the Channel even to this day — or im- 
mediately after dinner, when he often had a 
cup of tea all alone with Grace in that plea- 

132 The EarPs Promise, 

sant drawing-room opening on the terrace- 
walk which, commanded so wide and fair a 
view of the ever- changing sea. 

He wished to have that cup of tea with 
Grace this evening — the ^N'ettie who might 
have disturbed their tete-a-tete would, he 
knew, never disturb another at Bay view. 
He intended to ask Grace one question, and 
then, why then he meant to ride back through 
the night to his own home — a happy man or 
a disappointed according to the answer she 

The consciousness of the throw he meant to 
make did not tend to render Mr. Eiley an 
entertaining guest; and Mrs. Hartley, noticing 
his abstraction, said, as he rose from table, 
remarking it was quite time he was on the 
road again, — 

" You are going to try your fortune this 

" I am ; how did you guess that ? " 

"Never mind, I did guess it." 

''Wish me success," he said in a low tone, 
eagerly seizing her hands. 

On the Terrace, 133 

'-'- 1 wish you success," slie answered slowly. 
*^ If you take care of yourself, you will de- 
velope into one of the worthiest men I ever 

" I will try to be worthy of your good 
opinion, hoivever it may ^e," he said with a 
certain grateful softness in his tone, and then, 
suddenly loosing the lady's hands, he stooped 
and kissed her. 

" Have you gone crazy, John?" she asked, 
settling her cap, which the young man's 
demonstrativeness had disarranged. 

"A thousand pardons," he entreated; ''I 
could not help it — forgive me," and he went 
— straight, strong, young, erect out into the 
evening, leaving her to think of the boy baby 
she had borne and lost thirty long years before 
— thirty long years. 

Out into the evening — round to Colonel 
Perris' stable, where his horse stood, nose 
deep in manger, hunting after any stray oats 
he might hitherto have failed to find. 

^'Take him aisy, Mister John, the first 
couple of mile," advised the groom; "he has 

134 The EarPs Promise, 

been aiting ever since you left him. It's my 
belief them kinats* at Kilcurragh niver giv' 
the dumb baste bite or sup barrin' a wisp of 
hay and a mouthful of wather. Eide him aisy, 
giv' him his time, or ye'll break his win' ; but, 
then, what can I tell ye about horse cattle 
ye don't know already ? And shure ye have 
the night, God bless it, before ye — and thank 
ye yer honour, and long life to yerself," and 
he pocketed the coin Mr. Eiley gave him, and 
held open the gate for the gentleman, never 
adding, as John noticed, a word of hope for 

Courteous were those Xingslough people, 
courteous and partial to saying pleasant things 
high and low amongst them, but any thought 
or mention of the Bradys tried their com- 

There was no hope for IN'ettie. John Riley, 
taking his horse at a walk past Glendare 
Terrace, and so, making his way out of the 
long straggling town, felt popular opinion had 
already given up her case as hopeless. 

* Anglice — misers, skinflints. 

On the Terrace. 135 

She had chosen her lot ; Kingslough felt the 
wisest course it could pursue, in the interest 
of itself and IS'ettie, was to ignore the pro- 
babilities of what that lot might be. 

A great scandal had occurred — a scandal 
so great that, prone as Kingslough was to 
gossip, it felt disposed to maintain silence 
over the affair. 

In slight illnesses people love to talk over 
the symptoms and exaggerate the danger, 
but when the sickness becomes mortal, there 
ensues a disinclination to speak of it. Silence 
succeeds to speech, when once the solemn steps 
of the great conqueror are heard crossing the 
threshold. It is the same when a sore trouble 
menaces. In the presence of that enemy, 
even those whose happiness or misery is in 
no way concerned in his approach are fain 
to keep silence — and silence Kingslough 
maintained accordingly about the sad faux 
pas Nettie O'llara had made. 

But as yet Grace Moffat scarcely grasped 
the length and the breadth and the depth 
of the pit her old companion bad dug so care- 
fully for her future. 

136 The EarPs Promise, 

^^Have you found her, have you brought 
her back?" Grace asked eagerly as he en- 

'-'- There is only one person who can bring her 
back now," he answered, " and that is her 
husband. They went to Scotland yesterday." 

^' Oh, Nettie ! What could you have been 
thinking of ? " exclaimed the girl. 

^^ I suppose it is the old story, and that she 
was fond of him," Mr. Eiley replied. 

'^ You have seen Mrs. Hartley, — what does 
she say?" 

^^What can she say? what can anybody 
say ? what is the use of saying anything ? 
Nettie has done that which cannot be undone, 
and we must only hope the match may turn 
out better than we expect. She has chosen 
Mr. Brady and left her friends, and she will 
have to make the best of Mr. Brady, if there 
be any best about him, for the remainder of 
her life." 

" I think you are extremely heartless," said 
Grace indignantly. 

" I do not mean to be so," he replied. " If 

On the Terrace, 137 

I could help Nettie out of this scrape, I would 
spare no pains in the matter. But there is no 
help, Grace. We cannot remake Brady, 
neither can we undo the fact of her having 
gone off with a man who has no one solitary 
quality to recommend him beyond his good 

At this point John Eiley stoppod suddenly 
and walked towards the window, while Grace 
busied herself with the tea-equipage. 

The same thought had occurred to both of 
them. Other people besides I^ettie O'Hara 
might be influenced by good looks, and, as has 
previously been remarked, Grace's lover did 
not realize her ideal of manly beauty. 

^' Where is your cousin, Grace ? " asked Mr. 
Eiley, after a moment's pause. 

" Gone to spend the evening with Mrs. 
Mervyn." It was a matter of common occur- 
rence for the worthy lady who presided over 
Mr. Moffat's establishment to spend the even- 
ing with some one or other of her numerous 
friends. She had a predilection also for pay- 
ing morning visits and receiving morning 

138 The EarPs Promise. 

yisitors, so that Grace's time was more fre- 
quently at her own sole disposal than might 
have been considered quite desirable had Grace 
happened to be different to what she was. 

But although the young lady's manners 
were much less demure than those of her 
former friend and companion, she was really 
a much wiser and more prudent girl than 
Nettie. She might have wandered alone along 
the world's wide road, and still come to no 
harm by the way. 

Poor or rich, it would not have mattered to 
Grace. IS'o man could ever have made a fool 
of her. She had her faults, but lack of pride 
and self-respect were not to be classed among 

A girl to be greatly desired for a wife; a 
girl who would develope into a woman safely 
to be trusted with a man's happiness and a 
man's honour ; a girl loyal, faithful, true. 
She was all this and more ; and John Eiley 
knew her worth, and would have served as 
long as Jacob did for Eachael, to gain her in 
the end. 

On the Terrace. 139 

^' Grace," he began after a moment's pause, 
'^ will you finish your tea and come out into 
the garden ? I want to speak to you." 

'' What do you want to say ? " 

^' I have something particular to ask." 
• ''What is it?" 

'' Come out and I will tell you." 

''Tell me now." 

" Cannot you guess ? " 

She looked at him steadily for an instant, 
then her eyes dropped, and her colour rose. 

"Yes," she said quietly, "I can guess; but 
do not ask. Let us remain friends, as we 
have always been." 

" That is impossible," he said, " we must 
either be more than friends, or — " 

"Or," she repeated. 

" Strangers," he finished, and there ensued 
a dead silence which he suddenly broke by 
exclaiming vehemently, " Grace, you cannot, 
you must not refuse me ; I have loved you all 
my life. I never remember the time when I 
did not love you. I do not ask you to marry 
me yet, not until I have something to ofi'er 

140 The EarPs Promise. 

you besides myself, I only want you to say, 
' John, I will^ be your wife some day, and I 
will care for nobody else till you come back 
to claim me.' " 

She was as white now as she had been red 

^^ Let us go out," she said, laying her hand 
on his arm and leading him through the 
French window on to the terrace-walk. There 
was no hope ; he knew it, hu felt it, felt it in 
the touch of her hand, saw it in the expres- 
sion of her face. '' Why did you thrust this 
pain upon yourself and me?" she asked 
reproachfully. ''Did not you know I could 
never marry you? Have not you heard me 
say a hundred times over, that I should never 
marry anybody ? We have always been good 
friends, why cannot we remain good friends 
still ? I will forget what you said just now, 
and you must try to forget it too." 

''Must I?" he answered, "well, the time 
will come when I shall forget even that, but 
not until I am dead, Grace. So long as life 
and memory remain, I shall never forget you," 

On the Terrace, 141 

and he took the hand which lay on his arm, 
and held it tightly for a moment, then suddenly 
releasing it, he went on, — 

^'It was not always so; there was a time, 
and that not very long past, when you could 
not have stabbed me to the heart as you have 
done to- night. I do not say you ever loved 
me much, but you were young, and I believed 
you might learn to love me more ; but there is 
no use in talking about that now, the new 
love has ousted out the old. You can never 
be more than a friend to me; that is the 
phrase, is it not ? But somebody else may be 
nearer and dearer than the man who has cared 
for no one but you — no one else, Grace, all 
his life." 

'' I do not understand you," she began, but 
he interrupted her. 

^^ You understand me perfectly. Until Mr. 
Somerford " 

^' Mr. Somerford and I are nothing to each 
other," she interposed eagerly. 

^' Are not, perhaps, but most probably will 
be hereafter," he retorted. " I know he is 
the sort of fellow girls go wild about." 

142 The EarPs Promise. 

" I have not gone wild about him/' said 
Grace indignantly. ^' Are you mad, John, or 
do you think I am, to imagine Lord Glen- 
dare's nephew could ever possibly want to 
marry me?" 

^^ I imagine your fortune would be extremely 
acceptable to a man who has not a sixpence, 
at all events," was the almost brutal answer. 
Disappointed lovers are not usually over care- 
ful about what they say, and this one proved 
no honourable exception to the rule. 

'' The same remark might apply to other 
men who have not a sixpence either," observed 
the young lady bitterly ; "to Mr. John Eiley, 
for instance." 

He was calm in a moment, hating himself 
for the words he had uttered, almost hating 
her for the retort those words induced. 

" Say no more, Grace," he answered ; '^ you 
need not drive the knife any farther home — it 
has gone deep enough already," and he turned, 
and would have left her, but Grace followed, 
crying out, — 

" I did not mean it — I did not, really ; only 
you provoked me." 

Oft the Terrace, 143 

" You meant, however, that you would not 
marry, that you would not engage yourself to 
me," he said, stopping, and looking mourn- 
fully and reproachfully at her in the gathering 

"I am very sorry," she was heginning, but 
he interrupted her. 

^^ Never mind being sorry. I shall be sad 
and sorry enough for both. You did mean it 
then, Grace ; you meant truly that you could 
never come to love me, never while the winds 
blow and the dews fall." 

^'I do care for you," she said softly. 

"Ay, but not as I want to be cared for," he 
replied. " Well, you cannot help it, I suppose, 
and I — but that does not matter." 

It was over ; he was gone : she stood alone 
on the terrace. Strewed around were cistus 
leaves ; through the silence she could hear the 
sobbing of the waves as they washed in upon 
the shore. 




Persons who knew anything about the Eose- 
mont menage — and the persons who did 
meant all resident within an area of twenty- 
miles of that place, and a considerable 
number outside the area indicated — were 
aware that as a rule on those rare occasions 
when Lady Glendare honoured Ireland with 
her presence, the Hon. Mrs. Somerford 
"availed herself" of so favourable an op- 
portunity for visiting her friends. 

Lady Glendare and her hon. sister-in-law 
did not in all respects agree as sisters-in-law 
should. To state the case fairly, they hated 

Mr. Somer/ord^s Suggestion. 145 

each other. This undesirable frame of mind 
is not uncommon even in much lower circles, 
but perhaps civilized and decorous and socially 
polite hatred never attained a stronger growth 
than between the countess and her husband's 
brother's wife. 

Lady Glendare was certainly right in 
stating that they were not sisters-in-law, 
since rigidly they could not be called such 
near relatives. 

^' She is the widow of my late brother-in- 
law," was the form of speech in which Lady 
Glendare liked to describe Mrs. Somerford's 
position; ^^and as she is fearfully poor, poorer 
even than the Somerfords' widows have usually 
been (and that is indeed indicating a deeper 
depth of poverty than most people can 
imagine), Lord Glendare allows her to 
live at Eosemont with that great boy 6f 
hers, who does nothing, literally nothing. 
How it will all end I cannot imagine. He 
has no fortune, no profession, he has no chance 
there of marrying. Better have apprenticed 
him to some trade," and at this juncture, her 

VOL. I. L 

146 The EarPs Promise, 

ladyship, who having come from a noble stock 
who boasted a longer pedigree and a more 
encumbered rent-roll than the Glendares, 
always made it a rule to speak pityingly 
and depreciatingly of her husband and his 
family, was wont to fold her white hands 
and look up to the ceiling with that pathetic 
and saintlike expression of countenance which 
a great painter having beheld, has perpetuated 
in a portrait, copies of which are to be seen in 
old-fashioned scrap-books and amateur port- 
folios to this day. 

Lord Glendare had married late in life, 
middle age for him was over when he led 
to the hymeneal altar his beautiful, youthful, 
and accomplished bride. On the other hand, 
the Hon. Eobert Somerford had married early, 
comparatively speaking, and the son he left 
was many years older than Lord Trevor, 
jieir-apparent to the Glendare title and estates. 
Thus Mrs. Somerford was Lady Glendare' s 
senior, and though a sensible woman and a 
hard, she had been younger, and she would 
have liked to remain so. As that was im- 

Mr, Sofner/ordh Suggestion, 147 

possible, she could have wished all other wives 
and daughters a shade older than herself. As 
that likewise was impossible, Mrs. Somerford 
felt slightly dissatisfied with the arrangements 
of Providence, both as regarded the matter 
of age and other questions. 

Further, Lady Glendare had been a cele- 
brated beauty ; the traditions of her beauty 
would endure, Mrs. Somerford knew, to the 
last days of her life. Even yet she was a very 
lovely woman, possessed of an exquisite figure, 
of a gracious and graceful manner, a woman 
who had but to come, to see, or rather to be 
seen, and to conquer. She took the citadels of 
men's hearts by storm ; at sound of her voice, 
at sight of her smile, the battlements tottered, 
the walls fell. Virtue, as represented by Mrs. 
Somerford, was no doubt an estimable and 
discreet matron, but virtue felt its very ex- 
istence ignored when Lady Glendare, concern- 
ing whose prudence doubts had been expressed, 
the straightlaccdness of whose morals people 
more than suspected, sat in the same room 
with it. 

L 2 

148 The EarPs Promise, 

All this, and the facts of her being my lad}', 
of her first-born haying the prospect of in- 
heriting an estate which, encumbered though 
it might be, was still an estate, attached to a 
sufficiently old and well-known title, proved 
gall and wormwood to Mrs. Somerford ; but, 
on the other hand, there were bitter drops 
in Lady Glendare's cup poured into it by 
Mrs. Somerford. 

In the first place, if Lady Glendare were 
beautiful, Mrs. Somerford was clever. With- 
out her good looks the countess would have 
been a nonentity. Without any good looks 
to speak of, had Mrs. Somerford' s lot been that 
of an earl's wife, society must have ac- 
knowledged her talents. Added to this, she 
was, as Lady Glendare put the matter, the 
widow of a younger brother, and it is to 
be questioned whether an angel could under 
such circumstances have given entire satisfac- 
tion to the women of her husband's family. 

Mrs. Somerford not being an angel, gave 
none to the countess. 

Again, Mrs. Somerford affected an austere 

Mr. So7?ierford'' s Suggestion. 149 

sort of religion, and the countess had an 
uneasy feeling that consequentlyj despite her 
unpleasant manner, in this Tvorld, her sister- 
in-law might have a better chance than 
'herself of happiness in the next. 

Expressed heterodoxy even amongst men 
was rare in those days. People did not 
perhaps think so much about religion as they 
do now ; but when they thought about it 
at all they believed — ay, even people like the 
Glendares — that there was something in it ; 
something they would have to face certainly, 
and arrange if they could, once the evil days 
came, when doctor and lawyers and clergymen 
would be the only society they could pos- 
sibly entertain. 

To Lady Glendare the idea of that last 
sleep in Ballyknock Abbey was inex- 
pressibly revolting. Hating Ireland as she 
did, the thought of a certain village church, 
black with age, in a vault beneath which 
dozens of her progenitors lay, seemed a de- 
sirable resting-place by comparison; but 
even that was a possibility my lady shivered 
to contemplate. 

150 The EarPs Promise. 

Then if it were true, as Mrs. Somerford 
asserted, that it mattered not to her where 
her mortal remains were laid, what an im- 
measurable advantage the widow possessed ! 
A woman to whose lips the verse of a hymn 
or an appropriate text occurred whenever her 
eyes opened, could never feel afraid of awaking 
in the night. She might be disagreeable, 
but she could have no sins to repent of. 
Mrs. Somerford's manner always seemed to 
imply that, though she spoke of herself 
generally as a miserable sinner, she merely 
did so out of a feeling of delicacy towards 

She was not as the Glendares, every action 
of her life seemed to assert ; and she made 
Lady Glendare, who, if a sinner, was also a 
very weak woman, feel her moral and mental 
deficiencies at every turn. 

For all these reasons, and for many more, 
which it would require much time to specify, 
Mrs. Somerford found it, as a rule, convenient 
to visit her friends when Lord and Lady Glen- 
dare visited Ireland. 

Mr. Somerforcfs Suggesiioji. 151 

Every rule has its exception, however, and 
at the particular time when the reader is first 
requested to visit Eosemont, it was intimated 
to Mrs. Somerford that if she and her son could 
'make it convenient to remain at '^ home," so 
Lady Glendare civilly phrased it, she and the 
earl would consider it as a personal favour. 

^' They want me and Kobert,'' decided the 
widow, with a proud smile. ^' They want us 
to help them with the voters." 

And the widow was right. Her brother-in- 
law was anxious on the subject of the impend- 
ing election, and his agent had ventui*ed to 
hint that Mr. Somerford was very, popular, 
and that his presence and request might pos- 
sibly be the means of influencing many votes. 

Nay, he went farther ; he insinuated that 
eventually, perhaps, his lordship might find it 
expedient to put forward his nephew in the 
Liberal interest, and suggested that it would 
be therefore prudent to keep Mr. Somerford 
well before the constituents, and remind them 
how close were the ties that bound him at once 
to them and the noble house of Glendare. 

152 The Eajd^s Promise. 

To the earl the southern part of the county, 
for which a Glendare nominee had sat for 
seven successive Parliaments, and with few 
exceptions, for Parliaments almost countless 
before that, was the only thing in Ireland for 
which he cared. 

Had any person except the Marquis of Ard- 
morne offered him a large sum, a liberal amount 
for Eosemont and the other residences he 
owned in Ireland, together with the Glendare 
lands, the Glendare tenantry, the Glendare 
rights of wood, moor, and game, and mineral, to 
say nothing of shore rights and manorial rights, 
and rights appertaining to fisheries. Lord 
Glendare would — had cutting off the entail 
been possible — have sold them all, Ballyknock 
Abbey and the remains of his ancestors 

But he would not have sold his interest in 
the county. Every man has his toy, if we 
could only discover where he hides away the 
plaything ; and it was not possible for one to 
be long in Lord Glendare's company without 
guessing that the family seat was to him the 

Mr. Somcrfordh Suggestion. 153 

only one thing besides money and his children 
for which he really cared. 

He was very fond of all his children except- 
ing Lord Trevor, but it is problematical whether 
in the event having been necessary of a choice 
between his family seat and his parental feel- 
ings, he would not have sacrificed them to that 
Moloch in whose fires had been already con- 
sumed money, friendship, reputation, honour, 
happiness, self-respect. 

A pack of hounds could have been kept for 
a 'portion of the money that seat had cost. 
Even the Jews might have uplifted their 
grasping hands in amazement had the sum the 
return of a Glendare nominee meant been pre- 
sented to them in round figures. 

Agents had groaned over, tenants had sunk 
under it, not an agent on the property for 
scores of years who did not curse each election 
as it took place with a vehemence of denun- 
ciation in comparison to which all the commi- 
nations hurled at the heads of Israeli tish and 
Christian creditors faded into mere common- 
place ejaculations of impiety. 

154 The EarPs Promise, 

One agent, indeed — the gentleman who had 
the direction of Lord Glendare's affairs, and 
management of his property at the period when 
Kingslough was introduced at high noon — had 
ventured, soon after the earl's accession, to 
remark that in his opinion the seat was more 
trouble than it was worth, whereupon his 
patron turned upon him like a demon and 
saluted his ears with such a storm of vehement 
invective and vile insinuations, that the agent 
left the house, vowing one day or other he would 
have his revenge on the passionate nobleman. 

True, next day, Lord Glendare sent for and 
actually apologized to him, and a hollow truce 
was concluded ; and employer and employed, 
to the outer world, seemed better friends than 
ever, but Mr. Dillwyn did not forget, neither 
did the earl quite forgive. 

So far as a man of his temperament and 
habits could keep a watch on his agent. Lord 
Glendare kept one on Mr. Dillwyn, and Mr. 
Dillwyn, who had his own very good reasons 
for imagining that Mrs. Somerford acted on 
emergency as spy for the absent earl — devoted 

Mr. Somer/ord''s Suggestion. 155 

his energies to outwitting that clever lady, and, 
all things considered, succeeded tolerably well 
in his endeavour. 

A master-stroke of genius, however, was 
that letter to the earl containing the sugges- 
tion mentioned previously. It did not, per- 
haps, make the widow believe in him, but it 
caused her to reflect that perhaps her interests 
and his might not be so antagonistic as she at 
one time supposed. She had her hopes and 
her projects, and both centred in Eobert. 
Besides, her vanity was flattered. Mr. Dillwyn 
had at last recognized her presence as a power. 

And she was a power, if a disagreeable one. 
A woman competent to advise, direct, and 
assist a beautiful fool like her sister-in-law. 

^^ I shall be somebody yet amongst the 
Glendares," thought she, triumphantly, ^'and 
Eobert very soon shall be a great somebody." 
And all the time Mr. Dillwyn was weaving his 
webs, laying his plans, arranging his plots. 

When the Glendare shipwreck came, as 
come he knew it would, he had no intention 
of finding himself on a barren rock, scarce of 

156 The EarPs Promise. 

He meant to stand by the vessel to the last. 
It is more easy, if people could only believe 
the fact, to do well for oneself pecuniarily by 
apparent loyalty than by open treason ; but 
when the crash came, and the rotten timbers 
floated away over the ocean of men's memories, 
he proposed to be found high and safe ; high 
above the waters, safe from their fury. 

It was an understood thing that when my 
lord and my lady took up their temporary resi- 
dence in Ireland, the rules which governed 
their English life should be completely re- 
versed ; in other words, whatever they did in 
London, they left undone in Ireland; whatever 
they left undone in London, they were scrupu- 
lous to perform in the Blessed Isle. 

For instance, in London, they rose in Ihe 
afternoon and went to bed in the morning ; and 
in Ireland they were called betimes, and retired 
to rest at hours which would. Lady Glendare 
vainly hoped, restore the once exquisite beauty 
of her complexion. 

In England they never addressed an inferior 
save to issue a command, and in Ireland they 

Mr. Somerford'^s Suggestion. 157 

entered into conversation with all sorts and 
conditions of men, the poorer and raggeder the 
better ; in England they never walked, in Ire- 
land the use of their limbs was restored to 
them as if by a miracle ; in England they were 
always spending, in Ireland it was a fact that 
my lady often omitted to carry a purse, while 
my lord gave away pence and half-pence, but 
rarely had occasion to change a note. 

In England my lord and my lady beheld 
each other rarely, in Ireland they saw a great 
deal more of each other than either considered 
essential to happiness. In England they asso- 
ciated with none save their equals ; in Ireland 
the hearts of very middle-class people, indeed, 
were made glad by invitations to Eoseraont, 
where they instituted mental comparisons 
between their own modest homes and an earl's 
establishment, which caused them not to think 
the ways and modes of life "amongst gentle- 
folks poor or rich," so different after all. 

Only it troubled simple gentlefolks to un- 
derstand where the money went, as well it 
might. Some put it down to English extrava- 

158 The EarPs Promise, 

gance, wherein I think an injustice was put 
upon EDgland. Even residents in Ireland 
have been known to run through incomes and 
estates with surprising rapidity ; but then, 
open house was kept by them, and half a 
county ate, drank, lodged at their expense. 
Certainly open house was not kept at Eose- 
mont. Half the rooms were usually shut up, 
even when my lord and lady visited the ances- 
tral seat. 

As for Mrs. Somerford, she and her son 
contented themselves with a mere corner of 
the earl's great mansion. They dined in the 
library and sat in the music-room. 

It would not have suited the widow's purse 
to maintain an establishment such as even one- 
half of Eosemont required to keep in order, so 
the shutteis of the principal rooms were gene- 
rally closed; the gilt chairs with their pale 
blue coverings were shrouded in brown hol- 
land. The mirrors and the chandeliers were 
enveloped in wraps, the tassels of the bell- 
pulls were hid away in bags, as were also those 
of the curtain-holders. The statuettes were 

Mr, Somerford'' s Suggestiofi. 159 

dressed in muslins. There were some good 
pictures on the walls, but no one cared to look 
at them. Some day, it might be, a new earl 
should come to his own, who would put life 
into all these sleeping apartments, people them 
— let in the sunlight — sweep off the dust ; but 
so far, for generations past, the Glendares had 
cared nought for the place, which a former earl 
had when the title was still new built large 
enough to lodge a monarch and his suite, as was 
the fashion formerly in Ireland, where once 
every person who happened to be anybody, 
found himself over-housed and under-incomed. 

When my lady visited Eosemont, she 
affected a certain west wing called the 
" garden side " by those employed about the 
place, and it was so far the garden side of the 
mansion, that the windows commanded a view 
of an old-fashioned parterre, and a glass door 
opened into a piece of pleasure-ground which 
might have delighted the heart of Mr. Dis- 
raeli's Lady Corisande herself. 

There were to be found those old-fashioned 
flowers one longs for nowadays and never 

i6o The EarPs Promise. 

finds. There were the plants a false civiliza- 
tion, a perfect subjugation of individual taste 
to the dictum of interested tradesmen, have 
banished beyond our ken. That garden was 
the only thing connected with Eosemont my 
lady loved. There was somewhat of romance 
about the place — something which reminded 
her — so my lady said, to her London listeners 
— of the sweet peace of a convent garden, in 
that bit of pleasure-ground at Eosemont, "en- 
closed as it was with thick low hedges of 
privet, amongst which grew roses and passion- 
flowers, and sweet briar and honeysuckle. 

Assuredly it was a lovely little nook, where, 
in the earliest spring, crocuses and snowdrops 
sprang to life, and ibllowing fast in their wake 
came '^ pale primroses " and hepaticas, pink 
and blue, and the many-faced polyanthus 
and dafi'odil, a flower whose praises Herrick 
has not disdained to sing. 

But it was later on in the golden summer 
time, that the garden side of Eosemont decked 
itself in the most gorgeous apparel, not merely 
in scarlet, and yellow, and blue, as is now the 

Mr. So7ner/ord'' s Suggest ion. i6i 

fashion, fleeting we may hope, but in every 
ricli and tender colour the Creator of all 
things beautiful has made to render our earth 

There shone — humbly self-asserting — the 
gentianella in her dark blue robe of velvet. 
There were beds where fairy lilies of the valley 
made melody amongst their luxuriant foliage ; 
there grew soft harebells, j^ale blue, transj^arent 
white ; there were flaunting tulips, and showy 
anemones and ranunculus, the colours of which 
dazzled the sight ; there were sweet auriculas 
and climbing honeysuckle, and a perfect wealth 
of roses — roses that have had their day and 
disappeared before the great, scentless, coarse, 
overgrown monstrosities that demand care and 
admiration from their lovers in the present 

Against the walls of the house were trained 
myrtles, lemon verbenas, alpine roses, and the 
mysterious passion-flower both white and 
purple. That garden side of Eosemont was 
certainly, as my lady said, ^'beautiful ex- 

VOL. I. M 

1 62 The EarPs Pn 


IS'ot that tlic fact of its being beautiful ex- 
ceedingly would have recommended it to any 
one of the Glendares except in an abstract and 
conversational manner. They had none of 
that passionate love of scenery, that almost 
savage fondness for hill and dale, for the wide 
sea and the foaming rivulet, for snow- crowned 
mountains and rock-bound coasts, which has 
served to stipple in a background full of 
romance and sorrow and pathos to the figure 
of many a reckless, extravagant, wickedly im- 
provident Irishman. 

But the Glendares were not Irish. They 
owned the soil, but they wore not of it, they 
had not even that indefinite sort of attachment 
for the land which property usually developes. 

They were aliens, ever}' one, not excepting 
Mr. Eobert Somerford, who, though he had 
managed to secure for himself so much good- 
will, cared really no more for any blade of 
grass in the emerald isle than he would liave 
done for roses of Sharon. 

He vras as adaptable as other members of 
his family had proved themselves under various 
vicissitudes of fortune, but he was also as false. 

Mr. Sonicr/ord\s Suggestion. 163 

Unknown to himself, perhaps, but still, 
certainly his whole life was a lie — an assump- 
tion of qualities he did not possess — of abilities 
. with which nature had not endowed him, of 
affections forgotten at his birth. It was what 
they believed him to be, and not what he was, 
that the lower classes loved. And as re^rards 
Grace Moffat? Well, perhaps she too, like. 
her friend l^ettie, had admired a handsome 
face too easily ; perhaps the accomplishments, 
unusual at that period, Mr. Somerford had 
cultivated, caught her fancy ; perhaps — and 
this is of the three the more likely solution of 
the enigma — his close relationship to an earl 
affected the imagination of a girl born in 
a land the inhabitants of which believe in a 
lord as implicitly as any Eepublican A\ho ever 

He was as near the roses as any man could 
well be who chanced not actually to be among 
them. He had been born in the purple, though 
he happened not to be clad in it. He had 
lived much in Dublin and amongst the gentry 
of the South of Ireland, and his accent was 

^ 2 

1 64 The EarVs Promise. 

softer than that which was obtained in the 
jS'orth — softer, tenderer. It conveyed much 
Avhilst saying little. 

On the whole, perhaps, Mr. Eobert Somer- 
ford was not a safe companion for a young 
lady whom her friends might desire to keep 
heart-whole ; but as regards Grace Moffat, the 
evil had been wrought. For her earth held 
no hero like Lord Glendare's nephew, for her 
nature presented no desirable type of man, 
save one, and that one assumed the shape of 
Mr. Eobert Somerford, who, seated in the room 
which commanded a view of the garden pre- 
viously mentioned, was trying, not without 
success, to win golden opinions from his uncle's 

To Mr. Eobert Somerford, Lady Glendare 
could afford to be gracious, amiable, kindly- 
mannered, — in a word, herself. There were 
many points in his favour, the chief perhaps 
being that there was not the slightest chance 
of his ever succeeding to the title and rent-roll 
of the Glendares. Between him and the 
earldom stood the young lords, and an elder 

Mr. Somei'ford^s Suggestion. 165 

brother of his father, the Honourable Cecil 
Somerford, who lived abroad, and was knoTni 
by the family generally to have formed some 
undesirable attachment which rendered a resi- 
dence in England impossible. 

Mr. Eobert had thus been preserved from 
waiting for dead men's shoes. Eventually 
he hoped Lord or Lady Glendare, or the 
Honourable Cecil, or some other friend or mem- 
ber of the noble family to which he belonged, 
would get him an appointment ; meanwhile, it 
was clearly his interest to make himself 
as agreeable and useful to his uncle and his 
uncle's wife, and accordingly he entered heart 
and soul into the business of canvassing and 
bribing voters which had brought the earl to 
Ireland just at the time when, as Lady Glen- 
dare pathetically put it, '^that dear London 
was pleasant er even than usual." 

But every one knew the opposition was 
likely to be bitter as usual, and more formi- 
dable than on previous occasions. 

Lord Ardmorne had, of recent years, been 
purchasing land largely. Farms and estates 

i66 The EarPs Pn 


Lord Glenclarc would have bought, Lad he 
only j)ossessGd enough money, passed into the 
hands of his wealthier neighbour. To the 
north of Glemvellan lay properties and town- 
lands, hitherto owned by a non-resident 
Englishman, sinfully indifferent to Whigs and 
Tories alike, and to how his tenants voted ; 
but he haying departed to that A^ery far 
country where we may humbly hope politics 
are forgotten, his heirs decided to sell his Irish 
estates, and Lord Ardmorne became their pos- 
sessor. This threw a weight into the Tory 
scale which the Glendare party could not fail 
to regard with anxiety, and further there was 
no question but that of late years, Kiugslough, 
their ovrn especial stronghold, had been de- 
veloping proclivities as unpleasant as they 
were unsuspected. It was doubtful on how 
many votes the Whigs could could certainly 
reckon even at Kingslough. Already tlic 
Glendare star was waning. My lord had been 
absent while his rival was present. 

Lord Ardmorne vras bringing capital into 
the count}^, Lord Glendare Avas draining it 

Mr. Sojucrford'' s Suggestion. 167 

away; Lord Ardmorne spent part of every 
year in Ireland, sometimes for years together 
Ireland never beheld the face of Glendare. 

In a word, any one could sec the course was 
not going to be walked over, and Mrs. Somer- 
ford had not hesitated to express her opinion 
to this effect, with a certain triumphant bitter- 
ness which increased Ladv Glendare' s dislike 
for her. iS'ot that Mrs. Somerford had ever 
done anything to strengthen the family in- 
fluence, on the contrary ; but then she had, so 
she modestly put it, no position. 

In Lady Glendare's shoes she could have 
marched triumphantly to success ; this her tone 
and manner implied,' to the intense disgust of 
the countess. 

Hours, so it seemed to her ladyship, had 
passed since breakfast, as she sat in a low chair 
near one of the windows, eating strawberries, 
an operation which displayed to advantage her 
beautiful hands. Mr. Eobert Somerford ad- 
mired his aimt intensely. She might be 2')cissce, 
but no one could deny she was still a very 
lovely woman, and to a man of his dreamy 

iG8 T/ieEarPsP, 

r 0771 ISC. 

sensuous nature, there was something mar- 
vellously attractive in the easy, almost indolent 
grace of her slightest movement, in the way in 
which she made even the eating of strawberries 
a sight pleasant to behold. 

At a short distance from Lady Glendare, 
Mrs. Somerford had taken up her position, 
severely industrious. She was one of those 
dreadful people who never seem happy unless 
engaged upon some elaborate piece of work. 
Making imitation lace chanced to be Mrs. 
Somerford' s speciality, and as those were the 
days of veils, long, wide, and white, she was 
engaged in fabricating one. 

To Lady Glendare, who could scarcely have 
specified the difference between the point and 
the eye of a needle, this industry appeared 
singularly wearisome and aggravating, but her 
husband felt secretly envious of his sister-in- 
law's resources. 

It is not given to every one to do nothing 
with an exquisite grace ; and clad in the snuff- 
coloured trousers and dark blue frock-coat 
which it always, for some inscrutable reason. 

Mr, Soinerfo)'dh Suoffestion. 169 

pleased him to don when he came to Eosemont, 
his lordship drumming an irritable tattoo on 
the table, was perhaps conscious that he did 
not form by any means so pleasing a feature 
in the tableau as his wife. 

^' Ardmorne has given three picnics and two 
balls," Mr. Somerford was remarking. 

^^ What a pity we could not have gone to 
them," said her ladyship, whilst Lord Glendare 
muttered audibly a commination service over 
his neighbour, consisting of two monosyllables. 

'-^ Hu — sh ! " Mrs. Somerford entreated, 
holding up her finger. 

'' It is all very well to say ^ hush,' " retorted 
her brother-in-law, '' but when a fellow like 
that, wallowing in money as if it were dirt, 
shows fight on our very doorstep, as I may 
say, it is enough to make any man swear." 

'' I don't see how swearing can mend the 
matter," observed Mrs. Somerford. 

Lady Glendare tranquilly conveyed another 
strawberry to her lips ; the tattoo grew 
ominously loud ; Mrs. Somerford thought it 
expedient to devote her attention to a particu- 

1 70 The EarPs P. 

roil use. 

lar stitch she was executing ; Eohert Somerford 
began once more, — 

^'' The question is, with what weapons we 
can fight him." 

^' That is practical, Eobert," said his aunt. 
'^ That is precisely the observation I have been 
hoping some one would make. Here am I, 
exiled to this picturesque but barbarous land, 
willing to do anything if I am only told Avhat 
is required of me. I have canvassed before, I 
am ready to canvass again. I will beg, buy, 
borrow, or steal votes. I can give balls, I can 
arrange picnics, though they are a form of 
entertainment I detest.'' 

^' If you could only tell one vrlierc to get 
some money," interrupted the earl. 

^^Ah! now you ask me something quite 
beyond my power," was the calm reply. 
'-' Had I ever possessed any inventive genius 
of that kind, it would have been exhausted 
years since." 

'^ There is one waj^in which you might pro- 
pitiate the Kingslough Avorthies, however, tliat 
would not involve any pecuniary outlay," said 

Ulr. Soiiicrford"' s Suggestion. 171 

Mr. Somerford, hastily cutting across the 
retort his uncle Avas about to make. 

'-'' Indeed ! " exclaimed. Lady Glen dare, 
raising her eyes and looking at the speaker 
with a certain languid interest. "How can 
such a desirable object be' compassed in so 
desirable a manner ? " 

''If you would honour Kingslough by 
bathing there, I think we might safely set 
Ardmorne at defiance," answered Mr. Somer- 
ford, with the lightest touch of mock deference 
in his voice, 

"Do you mean bathe in the sea?" asked 
her ladyship, still toying with the rich, ripe 
fruit. "I am afraid it would be impossible 
for me to ' honour ' Kingslough to that extent. 
How should you propose my setting about it ? 
I do not see how I could run across the shingle 
after the fashion which prevails in this charming 
country, with no clothing except a bathing- 
dress, cloak, and a pair of slippers, and after a 
few plunges return in like manner. Xo doubt 
the spectacle might prove amusing to the 
bystanders, but it certainly would be anything 
but agreeable to the performer." 

7 2 The EarPs P. 


''My dear aunt, do you think I should for 
one moment have asked you, even in jest, 
to attempt anytliing of that kind ? Xo I have 
been considering the matter seriously, and 
mean precisely what I say, namely, that if you 
would honour Kingslough so far as to try the 
effect of sea-bathing on your health, we might 
calculate on carrying the town and neighbour- 
hood by storm. Any of the inhabitants whose 
houses are close on the shore, I mean who 
have back entrances to the sea, would be only 
too happy to place them at your service, 
or, what would be a still better plan, make 
use of Miss Moffat's bathing-box. It is like 
a little castle built out on the Lonely Eock. 
There is always deep water at that point, 
and the place is fitted up perfectly, my 
mother says." 

''Yes, Mr. Moffat has spared no expense,'' 
Mrs. Somerford agreed. 

"And who is this Miss Moffat?" asked 
Lady Glendare. 

" She is the onlv dausrhter of a 2rentleman 
who, although he has the misfortune to care 

Mr. Soincrford^s Suggestion. 173 

very little about politics, still has the good 
fortune, so far as he does care about politics, 
to be of our way of thinking." 

^'Dillwyn said he was breaking a horse for 
her," observed the earl at this juncture. 

' ' Dilhvyn only told you that to account for 
his having so valuable an animal in his pos- 
session," answered Mr. Somerford with sudden 

^'Do you mean to imply he said that 
which was perfectly untrue ? " asked his 

" Certainly." 

" Now, Eobert," entreated Mrs. Somerford. 

''There can be no doubt Mr. Dillwyn 
would like extremely to get hold of Miss 
Moffat's fortune, but—" 

"I must listen to this," exclaimed Lady 
Glendare. ''The conversation is becoming 
quite interesting. Pray proceed, Eobert. Do 
not be influenced by Mrs. Somerford's signs of 
wisdom. Mr. Dillwyn is a dishonest steward. 
According to popular belief there has never 
been an honest one on the property, so that 

1 74 The EarPs Promise. 

is nothing new; but it is new to have an 
agent in love. Do tell me all about it." 

'^I was speaking of Miss Moffat's fortune," 
said Mr. Somerford with an impatient em- 
j)hasis on the last word. 

'^Is it large, and is she nice? Why not 
marry her yourself?" asked her ladyship. 

" I trust my son w^ill never marry for 
money," said Mrs. Somerford, in accents of 
dignified rebuke, 

^' Your son will be a much greater simple- 
ton than I fancy, if he ever marry without 
it," remarked Lord Glendare. 

"Pray let Eobert finish his romance," en- 
treated her ladyship. '-'- Mr. Dillwyn wishes 
to marry an heiress, and as I understand your 
tone, the heiress deserves a better fate, and is 
conscious of her deserts. !Now tell me about 
her. It she young ? " 

"Miss Moffat is young,'' said Mrs. Somer- 
ford, answering for her son. " Concerning her 
appearance opinions are divided. She has a 
considerable fortune for a person in her rank 
of life, and I, for one, think it would give 

J/r. Soincrford^ s Suggestion. 


rise to jealousy and dissatisfaction if Lady 
Glendare were to single out for special at- 
tention the daughter of a gentleman who is 
not particularly popular, and who has herself, 
as is well known, been engaged almost from 
childhood to Mr. John Eile}^, whose father 
is an active supporter of Lord Ardmornc." 

The countess rose, put the plate containing 
lier remaining strawberries on a table close at 
hand, and said, — 

'^Eobert, life becomes serious when your 
mother touches it. I am going into the park, 
3^ou can come with me if you like." 

Next moment they were in the old-fashioned 
garden. A few moments later they were 
sauntering slowly along a shaded path 
which led to the more pretentious gTounds 

^'For pity's sake," began Lady Glendare, 
'' do not disparage Mr. Dillwyn to th(» earl. 
lie may have all the sins in the decalogue, 
but he has one virtue, — he refrains from 
troubling me about the condition of this in- 
teresting peasantry. You want to have the 

176 ■■ The EarPs Promise. 

agency and marry Miss Moffat ; Mrs. Somer- 
ford wants you to have the agency and not 
to marry Miss Moffat. My advice is, marry 
Miss Moffat, and neither hunger nor thirst 
after the agency. You could ncA'er give 
satisfaction, never ; whereas, with this heiress, 
you might get returned at the next election, 
and then almost choose your career. We can 
do nothing for you, I am sorry to say. My 
sons will require all the influence we can 
bring to bear to get even a bare living. 
AYlio is this unwelcome individual, the fact 
of whose existence your mother so trium- 
phantly announced ? If you are wise, do 
not let him carry off Miss Moffat." 

There is an advantage one has in dealing 
with selfish people who are not specially clever. 
They show what they want almost at the first 
move of the game. It may not be in the 
power of any man to hinder their getting their 
way, winning their game, but at all events he 
is not taken unawares. Mr. Somerford, who 
was, perhaps, not one whit cleverer than her 
ladyship, though he chanced to be more 

Mr. Somci'ford'' s Suggestion. 177 

plausible, imderstood clearly what slie 

She disliked poor relations — she would be 
glad if he married well — then, when he 
had helped himself, she and the earl might, 
perhaps, lift a finger to help him on a little 

It was not what he had wished — it was not 
what he had hoped, but he accepted the 
position, and answered with an amount of 
self-depreciation which, coming from Eobert 
Somerford, would have been really touching, 
could any one have believed it in the slightest 
degree true. 

^^ I should not have the slightest chance of 
success. Eeport says the young lady has 
already refused Mr. Eiley, heir to one of the 
loveliest properties in this part of the country, 
and where he failed it would be useless for me 
to try. He had every advantage on his side, 
whilst I have nothing in the world to recom- 
mend me except the fact of being related to 
Lady Glendare.'' 

VOL. r. N 

178 The EarPs Promise. 

^^And that fact you wisli me to bring to Miss 
Moffat's remembrance ? " 

'-'- No. What I proi^osed was solely in the 
interests of our party." 

^^And could your own not be served 
at the same time ? '' was the shrewd in- 

^^ No ; for once my mother and I are of one 
mind. I should not care to owe everything 
to a wife, however amiable, and I am not quite 
certain that Miss Moffat's nature is all sweet- 
ness " 

'-'- Gather me that rose, if you please," said 
the countess ; and whilst the young man 
performed her bidding, she looked at him 
with a keen, worldly scrutiny. 

That evening she remarked to Lord Glen- 
dare, *^ Eobert does not yet know the precise 
sum an earl's nephew is worth in the matri- 
monial market." 

'^ I should have thought that a point upon 
which your ladyship could afford him im- 
portant information," was the bitter reply. 

"Young people never believe the words 

Ulr, Souicrford'' s Suggestion. i 79 

of experience, and for that reason I maintain a 
judicious silence," answered the countess 
calmly. ^'My oj^inion, however, is, he will 
only find out how little there is in a name, 
even when combined with a brogue and good 
looks, when he has outlived the latter." 

Mr. Eobert Somerford was certainly not of 
one mind with her ladyship in this matter. 
Months before, he had given the Moffat 
question his most serious consideration, and 
decided that he ought to be able to do 

Combined with his romantic and musical 
tendencies, the young man had a perfect 
knowledge of the value of riches. He was, 
perhaps, as fond of Grace Moffat as he 
could be of anything besides himself, but 
he had no thought of marrying her — yet. 

It might be, it might not be. It was all 
uncertain as the mystic '^ He loves me, he 
loves me not ; " but on the whole Eobert 
Somerford felt satisfied fate had a higher 
destiny in store for him than that. 

N 'A 




Great was tlie consternation at Woodbrook 
when John Eiley announced his intention 
of leaving Ireland; greater, if possible, the 
lamentations which ensued when he informed 
his relations that Grace had refused him. 

Had it been possible to conceal the fact 
of his rejection, he would have done so, but 
he knew this was impossible, and knowing, 
made a virtue of necessity. 

The famil}^ heart had been so long set upon 
the match, Grace's fortune seemed the solu- 
tion of so many financial enigmas — the end of 
such wearing anxiety — that the news fell upon 

Introduces the N'ame of Amos Scott. iSr 

father and mother and sisters like the tidings 
of a bank failure, or the hearing of a will 
read, from which their names had been cruelly 

For years the matter had been considered 

settled. Mr. Moffat had never troubled himself 

about his daughter's future. He considered 

her as good as married. Mrs. Eiley had 

treated Grace just as though she were a child 

of her own. She was free of the house, came 

and went without invitation, or thought of 

one, as if it belonged to her own father. She 

and the Misses Eiley lent each other bead and 

other patterns, made paper mats of the same 

design, sang the same songs, exchanged books, 

played duets together, and walked about hand 

linked in hand, or arm twined round waist. 

They went to the same little parties, they rode 

together, they boated together, they had all 

been close companions, they had been like 

sisters until about a year previously, when 

Grace took it into her head to conceive a 

violent affection for Xettic O'Hara, towards 

whom she had never hitherto evinced any 

1 82 The EarPs Pn 


extraordinary amount of attachment. When- 
ever Nettie had an hour to spare it was spent 
at Bayview, She coukl not, it is true, go 
out to parties, and ride and drive and boat, 
and otherwise comport herself like the Misses 
Eiley, but she could and did occupy a great 
deal more of Miss Moffat's time and attention 
than those young ladies approved. And yet 
what could they say ? how was it possible for 
them to express their annoyance ? 

[N'ettie was their relative — her life not a 
cheerful one — her future presented nothing 
which could tend to make the future brighter. 
She had few friends, and those who stood in 
that position were most of them a few genera- 
tions older than herself. Grace was very good 
to Nettie, gave her presents, and kind words, 
and kisses, which were exchanged as freely 
and effusively amongst school-girls at that 
period of the world's history as they are now. 
Every person said how kind it was of the 
heiress to take so much notice of a portionless 
orphan. Some people hoped it would not make 
Miss O'Hara discontented with her lot in life. 

Introduces the A^avie of Amos Scott. 1 83 

others doubted wliether Miss Moffat was 
prudent in giving Mr. Eiley so many op- 
portunities of meeting such an extremely 
pretty girl — Miss Moffat, as has been stated, 
not ranking as a beauty amongst the Kings- 
lough authorities — whilst a very small 
minority, who had sense enough to keep 
their opinions to themselves, adopted the 
theory that Grace was beginning to weary 
of the Eileys, that she was getting old enough 
to realize what such extraordinarily close 
intimacy meant, and what it must end in some 
day ; that she had taken ^N'ettie into favour as 
a sort of counteracting influence, and that if 
Mr. John Eiley, without an available shilling, 
should choose to fall in love with Miss Xettic 
O'Hara, who had not a penny available or 
otherwise, Grace Moffat would not prove 

In all of which ideas the majority was partly 
right and partly wrong. Grace had no definite 
scheme of transferring Nettie to Mr. Eiley, but 
she found her presence at Bayview an intense 
relief. She liked John Eiley, but she did not 

1 84 The EarPs Promise, 

want to many him ; she was tired of every 
one taking for granted that she would even- 
tually marry him ; it was a pleasure to have a 
willing listener like IS'ettie, who believed, or 
who, at all events, seemed to believe her, when 
she said she would never marry anybody, — 
never. It was j^erhaj^s a still greater pleasure 
to find that I^ettie's beau ideal of a hero and 
hers were identical, so far as words could 
make them so. 

Till the locket and the ring discoveries 
excited Grace's suspicions, she had not the 
remotest notion that IS'ettie owned a lover; 
but Kettie knew perfectly well that her friend 
was in love in a simple, innocent, romantic, 
foolish, inconsequent manner with Mr. Eobert 
Somerford ; knew when and where, and how 
Grace had first seen him, and was intimately 
acquainted with the dress Miss Mofi'at hap- 
pened to be wearing on that eventful day. 

Miss Mofi'at had never communicated those 
particulars in any intelligible and consecutive 
manner, but IS'ettie spelt and put together one 
thing and another till she was mistress of the 

Introduces the Name of Amos Scott, i 

position, then she surreptitiously conyeyed to 
Eayview an album, some fifty years old or 
thereabouts, which contained a vile water- 
colour daub of a simpering and sentimental- 
looking young man, which nevertheless bore 
an absurd likeness to Mr. Somerford. 

It was a picture of nobody in particular, but 
the eyes were dark and dreamy, and the hair 
soft and waving, and the nose well formed^ 
and the mout\i full and undetermined — alto- 
gether, a face likely to please girlish fancies 
in an age when ladies were always represented 
with button-hole mouths, opened just sufii- 
ciently to display two pearly teeth and a 
morsel of tongue. 

Grace asked Nettie if she might copy this 
work of art, lo which Nettie, who considered 
nobody would ever be the wiser, replied by 
cutting out th| page and presenting it to her 
friend. \ 

Some days Vter, after they had refreshed 
their memories ivith another look at the inane 
handsome face, Tettic asked Grace if slie did 
not think it boroa slight resemblance to " that 
nephew of Lord irlendarc ? " 

1 86 TJie RarP s Promise. 

'^Xow you mention it, I tliink it does, 
dear," Grace answered liypocritically. 

'' I fancy so," IS'ettie proceeded, '^ though I 
never saw him close but once, and that was 
the day of Miss Agnew's wedding ; but it is 
not nearly as handsome as he." 

'- 1 thought it was," Grace faintly objected. 

'-'• Oh, no — not nearly ! Why, Gracie, where 
can your eyes be?" persisted Miss O'Hara; 
and Miss Moffat was brought, bj^ slow degrees, 
to see how infinitely better looking her living 
hero was to this portrait of one dead and gone 
years and years before ; and taus Xettie fooled 
the girl to the top of her bent ; and thus, 
surely and certainly, the thought of John grew 
distasteful to the heiress, and unconsciously, 
almost, a fancy for Eobert ^omerford took 
possession of her. 

But she never thought of marrying him. 
!N'o ; sometime, perhaps, she might die — of 
consumption she hoped, and ie would hear of 
it, and be sorry when he reuembered the girl 
whose singing had, he said, almost made him 
weep. He would marry sore great and titled 

Introduces the Auwie of Amos Scott, i^^j 

lady, Avliose loveliness would be Avonderful, as 
that of the beauties depicted in Heath's ' Book 
of Beauty,' or in the engravings that adorned 
-^ La Belle Assemblee.' 

At that period of her life Grace read poetry 
largely. The number of ^' Farewells " she 
copied into a certain manuscript book, know- 
ledge of the existence of which was kept secret 
oven from Xettie O'Hara, might have as- 
tonished even a modern editor. The sadder 
and the more hopeless the tone, the better 
the verses pleased Miss Moffat. 

She did not often see Mr. Somerford, but 
what then ? The pleasure was all the greater 
wdien she did see him ; and ill-natured people 
would have added, she had the less op- 
portunity of finding out that her idol had 
feet of clay. 

There is a time of life when it is a posi- 
tive luxury to be unhappy. Grace was un- 
happy, and rejoiced in her sufferings. It 
seemed to her -that she was experiencing the 
common doom, tliat she was in her own 
person enacting a scene out of a life tragedy. 

1 88 The EarPs Pr 

■07m se. 

T^o ; she would never marry any one ; she 
could not marry John Eiley, " dear John, so 
good and kind — and ugly I " she always 
mentally added. 

*' A bad, ungrateful girl," said poor Mrs. 
Eiley, whose heart had often been kept from 
utter despair by the bare thought of Grace's 
thousands, and who might naturally be for- 
given some extravagance of expression under 
the circumstances. 

'' Deceitful monkey ! '' ejaculatod Miss 

'' I did not think she would have served us 
so, I must say," remarked the general. 

^' I will never speak to her again," declared 
the youngest daughter. 

^^Then you may make up your mind never 
to speak to me," exclaimed Mr. John, happy 
at last to find some one on whom he could 
pour out the vials of his wrath, his regrets, 
his disappointment, and his disgust at the 
utterly prosaic view his family took of the 

He was most genuinely in love with Grace ; 

Introduces the A^ame of Amos Scott. 189 

lie had, as lie truly said, cared for no one else 
all his life ; and he hated to hear lamentation 
made concerning the loss of her fortune, 
whilst he had not a thought to spare — love 
being selfish— save for the loss of her dear 

'^ I may as well tell you at once," he went on, 
'^ that the person who says anything against 
Grace says it against me; that her enemies 
are mine, that her friends shall be mine ; " he 
made a moment's pause after this, feeling he 
had not spoken quite truly in that last clause. 
^' The girl has a right to choose and to reject. 
If I did not please her, it was my misfortune, 
not my fault ; and as for her fortune, concern- 
ing which you all talk as though it were her 
solo possession worth having, I wish she had 
not a penny, that I might prove it is for 
herself alone I love her." 

Then, with a catch in his voice, which 
sounded suspiciously like a sob, John Riley 
ended his sentence, and left the room. 

" I will have a talk with her father," 
observed the general. 

190 The Earl's Promise 

"" I can never forgive licr — never," said Mrs. 
Eiley, solemnly, as though she were uttering 
an anathema. 

"She will be content, I suppose, when 
she finds she has driven John out of the 
country," added Miss Eiley. 

" I wonder,'' began a young lady who had 
not hitherto spoken, '^ whether, after all, there 
is nothing to be said in Grace's favour. I 
wonder if any of us except John really liked 
her — whether it was not her money we were 
all so fond of." 

''Lucy, you are wicked to talk on solemn 
subjects in that sort of manner," said Mrs. 

'' There is something in Lucy's notion, 
though," broke out the general. " This con- 
founded money question seems to shadow 
every act in one's life like an npas tree. 
The girl is free from anxiety now ; she 
would not have been free here." 

"Will she be free if she marries Eobert 
Somerford ? tell me that," interrupted Mrs. 
Eiley, almost tempestuous in her vehemence. 

Introduces the A^anic of Amos Scott. 191 

''And that is the English of all this, if 
you must take her part against your own 
children. The arts and devices of some 
people are almost beyond belief. There is 
that Lady Glendare driving over almost 
every day to Bay view — coachman — footman 
— lady's-maid — lapdog, and who can say what 

''Carriage and horses most probably," sug- 
gested her husband. 

" Don't be absurd," retorted the lady. 
" You know what I mean. She walks with Miss 
Grace to the Lonely Eock — she bathes ; and the 
facts are reported in Kingslough, as if there 
were a coiu't newsman retained for the pur- 
pose. Mr. Moffat, who scarcely ever ftsked us 
to have a glass of wine and a biscuit in his 
house, entertains her ladyship at luncheon. 
Sometimes my lady breakfasts at Bayview ! 
Miss Moffat accompanied her ladyship back 
to Kosemont on Saturday, and returned to 
Bayview on Monday ! Oh ! it makes me ill 
to think of it, and we cherished that ^iper 
as if she had been a child of our own." 

192 The EarPs Promise, 

^^ Grace may be a fool. Very likely she 
is, but I do not believe her to be a viper," 
said Miss Lucy stoutly. ^^ It is a fortnight 
since she refused John. He told us so him- 
self, and Lady Glendare could not then even 
have seen her." 

^^ But she had seen Mr. Somerford." 

^^Well, girls, and which of you but might like 
to have a chance of setting her cap at an earl's 
nephew," observed the General. ^^In my 
opinion the earl is a very unprincipled man, 
and the nephew but a sorry sort of fellow. 
^Nevertheless, we must not be too hard upon 
Grace, though I think" (speaking very slowly 
and distinctly) '' she has broken my heart." 

And having so spoken — he, like his son, 
rose and left the room. 

And all this time, though Kingslough was 
well aware that Miss Moffat had given Mr- 
John Eiley his cor?{/e — though Kingslough and 
Glenwellan and Kilcurragh and many another 
place in addition were speculating concerning 
Mr. Somerford' s chances of winning the heiress 
— concerning Miss Moffat's chances of wedding 

Introduces the N'a7ne of Amos Scott. 193 

an extremely good-looking sprig of nobility — 
all this time, I say, Mr. Moffat remained in 
ignorance of his daughter's assertion of in- 

As has before been said, he was not hos- 
pitable. He disliked the customs of a country 
\rhere every man had the run of his friends' 
tables. He did not visit anywhere unless 
solemnly and ceremoniously invited, and very 
seldom then, and he wanted no chance guests 
in a house the domestic routine of which 
might have been wound up and set going by 

^Nevertheless he had been accustomed to see 
John Eiley about the place — to meet him in 
the avenue, or on the terrace, or strolling 
through the grounds with Grace and Nettie, 
and after a time it occurred to him that, spite 
of Lady Glendare's frequent presence, there 
was something or some one absent who had 
filled up a gap in his experience. 

He thought the matter over with that curious 
thoroughness which is the attribute of slow 
and abstracted natures, and then said, " Graco, 

VOL. I. 

194 Tlie EarPs Promise. 

what has become of John ? Is he from home ? 
I have not seen him for more than a fortnight 

For a moment Grace paused — then she said, 
very evenly, ^^I do not think you will see 
John Eiley here again at present. He asked 
me to marry him, and I refused ; that is the 
reason he has not visited Bayview for a fort- 
night past." 

^' But, my dear Grace — your mother — " 

^' My dear papa," interrupted Grace," I deny 
the right of any mother, how much more the 
right of a mother who is dead, and who can 
know nothing of the feelings of the living, to se- 
lect a husband for her child. It was all a mis- 
take ; and if mamma were alive, she would, I am 
sure, be the first to acknowledge it to be so." 

"At your age, Grace," began Mr. Moffat. 

*^ At my age, papa," once again interrupted 
Miss Grace, "it is of great importance to know 
one's own mind, and I have long known I 
would never marry John Eiley." 

"But remembering for how long a time it has 
been considered a settled matter that you and 

Introduces the Name of Amos Scott. 195 

lie were to become man and wife eventually, I 
think you ought at all events to have con- 
sulted me before rejecting him." 
, ^^ I had not any time to consult you, papa," 
answered Miss Grace demurely, " it was just 
'Yes' or 'No,' and I said '!N'o.' I never 
thought you really liked the Eileys,'' went on 
the girl, '' and I do not see why I should 
marry John merely because my grandfather 
had a friendship for the general. I have 
always declared I do not intend to leave you 
or Bay view," and she rubbed her cheek 
caressingly against his sleeve. 

''Ah, Gracie, that is all very well /zozi-," 
said Mr. Moffat. 

" It is very well for ever, papa," she replied. 
"How should I learn to care for any other 
home than this ? How should I endure such 
a life as that the girls lead at Woodbrook. If 
I am fastidious, papa, remember who has made 
me so. It is your own fault if I am as people 
say I am, proud and reserved ; I, who have 
not, to quote some of the plain-spoken Kings- 
lough people, a desirable thing about me ex- 
cept my money." 2 

196 The EarPs Promise, 

"What does Mrs. Eiley say to all this, 
Grace ? " asked Mr. Moffat, totally ignoring 
his daughter's last sentence. 

'^I can only imagine," the girl replied. 
" Mrs. Eiley and I have not seen each other 
since ; I do not suppose we ever shall see each 
other again." 

" Do you mean that because you have re- 
fused John, all intimacy between the families 
is to cease?" asked her father somewhat 

" I mean that as he has not been here for 
more than a fortnight, nor his sisters, nor his 
mother, nor his father^ it is very likely they 
all intend to cut me — ^but I can bear it," 
finished Miss Grace with a toss of her pretty 

" I had regarded this marriage as a settled 
thing," said Mr. Moffat thoughtfully. 

" So did a great many other people, I be- 
lieve," answered his daughter. 

"When a girl has a large fortune," went on 
Mr. Moffat, " it becomes an anxious question 
whom she shall marry." 

Introdiices the Name of A?nos Scott. 197 

" I should have thought that an anxious 
question whether a girl have a fortune or not," 
Grace remarked. 

^' I am speaking seriously about a serious 
matter," replied her father in a tone of rebuke. 
^^ A portionless girl is at all events certain not 
to fall into the hands of a fortune-hunter. 
There is nothing I should have such a horror 
of as seeing a child of mine married to a mere 
adventurer. Till now I have never felt a 
moment's uneasiness about your future. The 
match proposed by your grandfather seemed in 
every respect suitable, and now, without even 
mentioning the subject to me, you have un- 
settled the plans of years. So independent a 
young lady as you aspire to be," he added 
bitterly, ^^ will no doubt choose a husband with 
as much facility as you have discarded a suitor, 
and some day you will come to me and say, I 
have accepted Mr. So-and-so, with as much 
coolness as that with which you now tell me 
you have rejected John Riley." 

'' You are unkind, you are not fair to me," 
said Grace, who was by this time in tears. 

The EarPs Promise. 

'' I never thought you much liked the Eileys ; 
you did not ask them to the house." 

^'ISTo," interrupted Mr. Moffat, ^^I certainly 
did not encourage promiscuous visiting, be- 
cause I like to feel my house and my time my 
own, and detest the practice of living any 
where except at home, which prevails so much 
in this country. I am not a man who delights 
in general society, and I do not pretend to say 
the Eileys are congenial to my taste, but — " 

'-'' You think they ought to be to mine," said 
Grace, laughing even while she cried. 

^' I think they are a family with whom you 
might have got on extremely well," answered 
Mr. Moffat. ^^ I think John Eiley is a young 
man in whose hands any girl might safely put 
her happiness. There is no drawback I can 
see to him except the fact of his father's pro- 
perty being so heavily encumbered, and your 
money would have paid that mortgage off, and 
the estate might in my opinion then have been 
doubled in value. I have often thought how 
it might be managed." 

^^ So have the Eileys I am quite sure," 
added Grace. 

Introduces the JVame of Amos Scott. 199 

^^ I believe John's affection for you to be 
perfectly disinterested," said her father. 

^' Perhaps it may," she replied, ^' but the 
worst of being an heiress is, one never thinks 
anybody is disinterested." 

^'Do not talk in that manner, my dear, or 
you will make me wish Mr. Lane had never 
left you a shilling." 

'^ I have often wished he had left it to those 
poor slaves he made it out of,"answered Grace. 
^^ Papa, I am sick of money : I should like to 
feel, if it were only for an hour, that somebody 
cared for me for myself alone." 

^^ I think many somebodies care for you 
alone," he remarked ; ^^ myself, for instance." 

^^You — yes of course; but then, you are 
nobody," she said, squeezing his hand. 

" Thank you, my dear, for that compliment. 
What say you then to Lady Glendare ? " 

^' I do not know what to say, except that I 
am afraid I am getting horribly tired of her. 
I shall be so glad when this detestable election 
is over and her ladyship's bathing at an end. 
How she does hate the very sight of the water ! " 

2 GO The EarPs Promise. 

added Grace, laughing at the recollection of 
Lady Glendare's terror. ^^ I asked her one 
day if she did not enjoy it, and she repeated 
the word ^ Enjoy ! ' with a shudder more 
expressive than any form of speech could have 

'' Then you have no ambition to live amongst 
the nobility ? " asked Mr. Moffat. 

'' No, I should dislike it as much as Lady 
Glendare does sea-bathing. She cannot feel 
more out of her element on the Lone Eock 
than I did at Eosemont." 

*'I am glad to hear it, Grace," said her 
father ; '^ I do not think much good comes out 
of girls associating with those in a higher rank 
than themselves." 

Conscious that this remark was capable of a 
more particular application than the speaker 
suspected, Grace hung down her head and 
made no answer. When next she spoke it was 
to say, — 

" Papa, you are not angry — not really angry, 
I mean, because I could not care for John ? " 
'^I am not angry," he answered, "but I am 

Introduces the Name of Avios Scott. 201 

sorry. Any person may want to steal you 
away now." 

" But if I am not to be stolen ? " site asked. 

Mr. Moffat smiled gravely and said, — 

^' All ! Grace, you do not know much about 
these matters yet — I wish you could have 
liked John. But there/' he added speaking 
more cheerfully, ^'perhaps you may change 
your mind, and marry him in spite of all this." 

^^ IN"©," she answered. "And if I wanted to 
marry him ever so much he would never ask 
me again — never." 

" You think that, Grace ? " 

" I am certain of it — certain — positive. I 
did not refuse him nicely, papa, not at all as 
young ladies do in books ; I was rude and said 
what I ought not to have said. He vexed me 
and I vexed him." 

" I trust you did not express any idea of his 
being influenced by mercenary considerations," 
said Mr. Moffat sharply. 

" Yes I did," confessed the girl penitently. 

" Then, Grace, I am angry with you ; I shall 
make a point of going over to Woodbrook, and 

202 The EarPs Promise, 

apologizing to him for your rudeness. I would 
not for any consideration, this had happened. 
I wonder how you could so far forget your 
own dignity as to insult a man who had done 
you the great honour of asking you to be his 
wife, for, whatever you may think, a man can 
confer no higher compliment on a woman than 

The girl made no reply ; she only withdrew 
her hand from her father's arm, and walked 
slowly away towards the house. That day 
Lady Glendare found Miss Mofiat in an un- 
usually lively mood. I^ever before had her 
ladyship heard Miss Moffat talk so much or so 

^^ She really has something in her," decided 
the countess, ^^ and Eobert might do worse ; 
besides Mrs. Somerford does not like her." 
For all of which reasons Lady Glendare 
determined to promote the match. 

Meanwhile another and not an adverse 
influence was at work. 

When Mr. Moffat arrived at Woodbrook, 
great were the expectations raised in the bosoms 

Introduces the Name of Avios Scott. 203 

of Mrs. Eiley and her daughters by his un- 
looked-for visit. 

He had asked for Mr. John Eiley, but the 
servant ushered him into the general sitting- 
roonij where Mrs. Eiley, surrounded by the 
Misses Eiley, was engaged in works of 

''- This is an unlooked-for pleasure," said that 
careworn matron, giving Mr. Moffat both her 
hands to shake, as though one would not have 
been more than enough to satisfy him. ^^ We 
did not hope to see you here : I think it very 
kind of you to call, and to show us we are 
still to be friends, although it seems we are not 
to be relatives." 

Mrs. Eiley was not a favourite of Mr. 
Moffat's. He liked everything soft, and 
quiet, and graceful about a woman — voice, 
manner, mind, dress, movement. Mrs. Eiley 
had a pronounced accent, and was neither quiet 
nor graceful; a good woman, no doubt, but 
one who would have made Lady Glendare 
shudder. She caused Mr. Moffat to draw back 
a little farther into his shell, as he answered, — 

204 The EarPs Promise, 

" No one can regret Grace's decision more 
than I," (then she has not changed her mind, 
thought Mrs. Eiley. " It is usually an anxious 
thing for a widower to be left with a daughter, 
more especially if that daughter have a large 
fortune, but I never felt anxious about Grace 
until now. I was so certain your son would 
make her a good husband." 

Yes, it was Mrs. Eiley' s opinion there were 
not many young men like John in the world, 
and she expressed it. 

" But one cannot control a young gii'l's 
fancies," said Mr. Moffat, who felt A'aguely 
that the virtues of his daughter seemed to be 
forgotten in Mrs. Eiley's praises of her son. 

^' I am very sorry to hear you say so," said 
that lady, pursing up her lips, ^'very sorry 
for Grace's sake." 

^^ Do you think I can make Grace like your 
son ? " asked Mr. Moffatt, a little hotly, mis- 
interpreting her meaning, and considering Mr. 
Eiley would at least gain as much advan- 
tage from the match as his daughter. 

''' Certainly not, Mr. Moffat, but it might be 

Introdiues the 'Nainc of Amos Scott. 205 

just possible to keep her from liking other 

'' If your remark contain any hidden meaning, 
I am stupid enough not to perceive it," said 
Mr. Moffat, answering her tone rather than 
her words. 

^^ There is no hidden meaning so far as I am 
aware," replied the lady. "We know the 
reason why John — " 

^^ Mamma," interposed Lucy entreatingly. 

" Xonsense, child, don't dictate to me," said 
her mother angrily, while Mr. Moffat added, — 

" Pardon me. Miss Lucy, but I think your 
mother is right. If she is aware of any 
reason for Grace's decision beyond those with 
which I am acquainted, I certainly ought not 
to be kept in ignorance of them." 

"But it is only mamma's idea, and I do not 
believe there is anything in it ; I do not, in- 
deed," persisted Lucy. 

" And pray how does it happen you are so 
much wiser than your elders ? " asked Mrs. 
Eiley snappishly. " The fact is this, Mr. 
Moffat ; Grace refused John because she likes 
some one else better." 

2o6 The EarPs Promise, 

"And wlio is the some one?" asked the 
perplexed father. 

"Mr. Eobert Somerford," said Mrs. Eiley, 
with slow triumph. 

" Mr. Eobert Somerford ! you must be " — 
crazy, Mr. Moffat had nearly added, but he 
substituted " mistaken " for it. " Grace has 
not seen him half-a-dozen times in her life." 

"That makes no difference," was the calm 

" I think it makes every difference," said 
Mr. Moffat. "Believe me, Mrs. Eiley, you 
are quite mistaken about this matter." 

" Perhaps so, but if you ask your daughter, 
I think you will find I am not mistaken." 

" I should indeed be sorry to mention the 
subject to my daughter, and I hope no one 
else will," said Mr. Moffat rising. " I have 
not the least desire to put such a ridiculous 
idea into her mind. There is nothing I should 
have such a horror of, for her, as an unequal 
marriage. There is scarcely a man I know I 
should less desire to see her husband than Mr. 
Somerford. As you say John is at the stables, 

Introduces the Name of A7nos Scott, 207 

I will, if you will allow me, go to him. I 
entreat of you," lie added earnestly, '^ not to 
harbour this delusion. I am certain Grace is 
not a girl to give her affections where they 
have not been asked, where they are not 

^^ Oh ! we shall say nothing," hastily replied 
]\Irs. Eiley, who had already imparted her 
views on the Somerford question under the 
seal of secrecy to at least half-a-dozen friends ; 
" we have our own affairs to attend to, and 
find that sufficient, without meddling in the 
affairs of other people. I only wish the General 
was of my mind. What he can be thinking of 
to turn knight-errant at his time of life, I 
cannot imagine." 

'^ Papa wants to see IN'ettie's ^ marriage lines,' 
Mr. Moffat," said Lucy, noticing their visitor's 
perplexed expression, ^'that is all mamma 
means. John and he are going over to-day to 
Maryville to ask for a private view." 

*^You ought not to speak about such 
subjects at all, Lucy," said her mother ; 
" certainly not in so flippant a manner." 

2o8 The EarPs Promise, 

^^ Girls are a great plague," sighed Mr. 
Moffat. Whether his remark had any refer- 
ence to Miss Lucy's flippancy it is difficult to 

" Mine are not," said materfamilias, proudly. 

^'The present company is always excepted," 
answered Mr. Moffat, mentally adding, as he 
left the room, " not that I should except you 
from being one of the most ill-bred women I 
ever met. Perhaps, after all, Gracie has done 
wisely. I doubt whether she and Mrs. Eiley 
could ever have gone on smoothly together.'' 

In the stable-yard he met John, whose face 
brightened at sight of Grace's father, and then 
became once again overcast when he found Mr. 
Moffat had only called to apologize for his 
daughter's rudeness. 

*' Thank you," the young man said, simply. 
^' Grace did not mean to hurt me, I am certain, 
but there was just enough truth in her words 
to sting and to rankle. You know, sir," he 
went on, '^ we are poor, and a man who is poor 
cannot help thinking about money ; but it is 
not for her money's sake I love Grace. Some 

Introduces tJic Xauie of Avios Scott. 209 

day she will know that, perhaps. When I am 
gone quite away, I wish you would tell her 
she could not be any dearer to me if she had 
millions, nor less dear if she had not a penn5^" 
- ^^ Are you going away, then ? " 

'^ Yes, whenever the election is over, I shall 
leave Ireland. If Grace had said, ^ yes,' I 
should have left it all the same, only with a 
lighter heart. I did not want her to marry a 
pauper. I meant to do something. I meant 
somehow to make a name and money ; hut 
why should I trouble you with all this ? " and 
he broke off abruptly. The past had been 
fair, but it was dead and cold. The mental 
refrain of every sentence was, ^^I^ever more." 
For ever he should love her, never she would 
love him ; that was the burden of that weary 
song he had kept repeating to himself ever 
since the night when he left her standing on 
the terrace, listening to the moan of the sea. 

They walked on together in silence down 
the back avenue to a pair of rusty gates, out- 
side of which Mr. Moffat had left his dog-cart. 

'^ John," asked that gentleman abruptly, at 

VOL. I. p 

2IO The EarPs Pro7nise. 

lengtli, " wliat is it your mother means about 
Mr. Somerford?'' 

'^ What about him ? " said John moodily. 

^^ She seems to think Grace is fond of him.'' 

*' So she is," T^^as the reply. 

'^ I am certain 3^ou are wrong." 

'' I am certain I am right ; listen to me, sir. 
I do not say Grace is in love with the fellow, 
heaven forbid ; but still, I do say he has, to 
use a common expression, ' put her out of con- 
ceit' with every one else. I am glad you 
have mentioned the matter, because I can now 
explain how Grace happened to be so spiteful 
to me. I expected to be refused, and yet I 
grew half-crazy with rage and jealousy when 
I was refused. So like a fool, I told her the 
new love had ousted out the old, and then, 
when she said I was mad to think Lord Glen- 
dare's nephew would ever want to marry her, 
I retorted that he might like to marry her 
money. The fault was mine, you see," 
finished the young man hurriedly. ^^ Grace 
was not to blame, and I should have been the 
one to apologize, not you." 

Introduces the Acinic of Amos Scott. 2 1 1 

^' ^Hiat makes you suppose there is anything 
between Mr. Somerford and Grace?" that 
was the one question of absorbing interest to 
Mr. Moffat. 

•'I do not suppose there is anything," 
answered the young man. ''All I mean is, 
that with his singing and playing, his hand- 
some fiice and his soft, false manners, he has 
taken her fancy." 

"Tliat will all pass away," said Mr. Moffat, 
but John shook his head. 

"If she could know him as he really is," 
answered the young man, " know him for a 
cold, shallow, selfish, unprincipled vagabond, 
there might be some hope ; but Grace has 
made a hero of him. She thinks he is without 
reproach, that he is pre-destined to retrieve 
the Glendare fortunes, that he is the one good 
fruit of a rotten tree. There, I would rather 
say no more about him. Perhaps I am unjust. 
For her sake I hope I am. I will come over 
to bid you and her good-bye before I go. 
Though we parted in anger, I think she would 
like to remember we parted once again as 
friends." p 2 

2 1 2 The EarPs Promise, 

'' Yes, you may be positive about that,'' Mr. 
Moffat assured him, and then they shook hands 
and separated, John to proceed to Maryville, 
and Grace's father to return to Bay view, a 
much more perplexed and harassed man than 
he had left it. 

Was Mr. Somerford the origin of Lady 
Glendare's sudden intimacy with and professed 
affection for his daughter ? He had said, and 
said truly, to Mrs. Eiley, that he had a horror 
of unequal marriages, and that Eobert Somer- 
ford was not a man to whom he should like to 
give his daughter ; and yet, when he came to 
consider the matter calmly, when he found his 
objections to the young man were based 
greatly on prejudice, he began to see the 
match was not in reality so unequal as he had 
at first thought. 

Grace was a gentlewoman, possessed of a 
large fortune, Mr. Somerford was the nephew 
of an earl, and had not a sixpence ; so far the 
beam stood tolerably even. No one had ever 
spoken of Mr. Somerford as a rake, or a 
gambler, or a drunkard. His sins wc/e those 

Introduces the N'avie of Avios Scott. 213 

of omission. So far as Mr. Moffat was aware, 
no sins of commission had ever been charged 
against him. The poorer classes idolized him, 
-and Mr Moffat did not kno\Y enough of the 
lower classes to be able to judge accurately 
the value of that idolatry. 

Living entirely amongst his books, mixing 
little with society, as much a stranger to the 
feelings and habits of the country as the day 
he settled at Bay view, Irish only by connexion 
and marriage, Northumbrian by birth, English 
by feeling, wealthy by a sequence of unlooked- 
for events, indolent, refined, reserved, how 
should he, who had never been able to win 
for himself poj^ularity, understand the ii'tter 
worthlessness of the beads, and feathers, 
and gew-gaws of manner, and word, and 
presence, by which popularity is to be 

The Glendares were a weak, dissolute, 
extravagant, heartless race; but then, Mrs. 
Somerford, Eobert's mother, was a very dragon 
of pie^ -, respectability, pride, and austerity ; 
and after all, if Grace's fortune were settled 

214 '^^^^ EarPs Promise, 

strictly on herself and her children, she might 
do worse. 

Hitherto, he had always looked upon Grace 
as virtually married to John Ptiley, and it was 
therefore a shock and a wrench to imagine hor 
married to any one else ; but if Grace did not 
like John, and did like Lord Glendare's 
nephew, why then Mr. Moffat decided he 
would try to accustom himself to the change. 

After all, Lady Glendare and Mrs. Somer- 
ford would be more desirable relatives than 
poor, bustling, well-meaning, loud-voiced, 
many-daughtered Mrs. Riley. 

Further, Grace must marry, and that soon. 
Those were days as has been already stated, 
w^hen girls sooner outgrew their first youth 
than women do now, and Mr. Moffat disliked 
beyond all description the idea of having, as 
he mentally expressed it, '^ a score of lovers 
hanging about Bay view." 

The charge of a young maiden, the trouble 
of keeping undesirable admirers at bay, love 
complications, secret engagements, scenes, 
tears, loss of appetite, and threatened con- 

Introduces the N'arnc of Amos Scott. 215 

sumption, all these things were as much 
beyond Mr. Moffat's province as they were 
outside his taste. 

He loved ease and the classics, he detested 
company, he hated having the even tenour of 
his life ruffled even for a moment by the in- 
trusion of an outside current. 

He had been vexed with Grace, and sorry 
for John Eiley, but now he believed John 
would get over it, and perhaps it was quite as 
well Mrs. Eiley should not become his 
daughter's m©ther-in-law. 

Mrs. Eiley's voice had that day sounded es- 
pecially disagreeable. The bitterness, disap- 
pointment, and resentment she feared to ex- 
press had not added to its G^eetness, and had 
added to the brusqueness of her manner. 

After the sweetness of Lady Glendare, the 
acid of Mrs. Eiley had not appeared good to 
Mr. Moffat. How handsome her ladyship still 
remained, how exquisitely she dressed ! The 
fashions of those days seem astonishing to us, 
but they were the mode then, and people ad- 
mired them accordingly. How gracefully she 

2i6 The EarPs Promise. 

moved ! As Eobert Somerford said, ^^ there 
was poetry in her walk." On the other hand, 
what a dowdy Mrs. Eiley looked, with her 
crushed cap and faded strings, her ill- made 
dress, and yellow bony hands. 

A long course of mortgage had not tended 
to improve Mrs. Eiley's personal appearance. 
She looked like a house in chancery. Every 
time he beheld her, Mr. Moffat beheld likewise 
fresh dilapidations and — 

^^ Jerry,'' said Mr. Moffiit at this juncture, 
suddenly roused from ideal musings to a sense 
of the real; '' see what is the matter with 
Finn's front off foot. He is easing it." 

Mr. Moffat was driving tandem, and his 
leader's foot was slightly beyond his range of 
accurate vision. 

^' Cast a shoe, your honour," explained 
Jerry, lifting the foot indicated. 

*' That is bad, what can we do ? " 

^^I'll walk him home," volunteered the 

^'No, I cannot endure driving alone. Can- 
not we put him up somewhei-e ? " 

Introduces the AUiine of Amos Scott, ii-j 

^' Amos Scott would take good care of liim. 
His place is at the top of the next loanin."'* 

" You mean Miss Grace's fiiend, the man 
who has a lame boy, and Avho wears a blue 
coat with brass buttons ? " 

^' Yes, your honour." 

'' Open the gates then, and I will drive up.'^ 

^' There are half-a-dozen gateSo" 

^' Walk on then and open them all. What 
a cursed country ! " thought Mr. Moffat as his 
wheels went down on one side and up on the 
other, and his horses gingerly picked their 
way over huge stones, and gravel, and pieces 
of rock. "Jerry, does Scott draw his farm- 
produce down this charming piece of road ? " 

" Every ton of it, sir." 

"And his manure back ? " 

" Ah, it's little manure he draws. He has 
his own heap always rotting at the door, 
ready to his hand, and it's good land he has, 
God bless it." 

" Who is supposed to keep this road in re- 
pair ? " asked Mr. Moffat, unheeding this tes- 

* Lane. 

2i8 The EarPs Pi 


limony to Mr. Scott's admirable management, 
and the superior quality of his soil. 

'^ ISTobody, sir." 

'' "Who does it belong to? " 

^^ jN"obody, sir; it is a divisional, and nobody 
€an stop it, and nobody cares to mend it. In 
the -winter there is a fine stream running 
sometimes ; I've seen it in flood times up to 
the horse's srirths." 

'^Who is the landlord?" 

'' The Earl, sir." 

There was only one earl known at Kings- 
lough, his rival being the marquis. 

'' If he knew the state this road was in, he 
would have something done to it, I should 
think," said Mr. Mofl"at. 

" Likely, sir, but it was always so," re- 
marked the man. 

'^ Always so, always so," repeated Mr. 
Moffat to himself, '^ay, and everything always 
will be so while Ireland is Ireland, and the 
Irish remain Irish," forgetting that he, an 
Englishman, had fallen into Irish ways ; that 
the grass on his lawns was suffered to grow 

Introduces the A^aine of Ajnos Scott, 219 

long like that in a meadow, that his hedges and 
borders were undipped, that his walks were 
unrolled, and his grounds, though beautiful 
ejxceedingly, were left in a state which would 
have driven an English gardener crazy to 

Yes, he was Irish in his ways, without the 
Irishman's excuse, for he had plenty of money, 
plenty and to spare. He might have given 
employment to many and many a labourer, 
had he transplanted the trim civilization of his 
native land across the channel. 

If a man have wealth and do not spend it, 
he may as well be an absentee as a resident. 
Some idea of this truth had already dawned 
upon Grace Moffat. All the evils Ireland 
groaned imder she heard ascribed to non-resi- 
dent landlords, to the rent the land yielded 
being spent out of the country ; but the girl, 
thanks perhaps to the comparatively lonely 
life she led, and to her intense love for and 
sympathy with the people, was beginning to 
understand that non-residence was only a part 
of the evil. 

2 20 The EarPs P. 


For example, she and her father lived at 
Eayview ; but for all the money they s^^ent, 
or good they did in Ireland, they might as 
well have lived at Jericho. The Eileys again, 
who Avas the better for their j)resence ? They 
lived off' the soil ; they killed their own sheep, 
they ate their own poultry, they grew their 
own vegetables, they wore the same clothes, 
so it seemed to Grace, month after month, and 
year after year. All this certainly might bo 
their misfortune, indeed Miss Moffat knew no 
choice was left to them in the matter ; but tho 
man who held the mortgage on their property, 
and for whose sake the Woodbrook tenants 
groaned under a yoke scarcely less severe 
than that laid upon the necks of the farmers 
who rented land from the Glendares, lived at 
Kilcurragh alone, with an aged servant, in a 
large dilapidated house, giving nothing away, 
living upon as little as he could. 

If he expended a hundred a year, it was the 
extent of his outgoings. 

Then Grace thought about ^Irs. Hartley. 
She, though English, resided in a land where 

Introduces the Name of Amos Scott. 221 

the exigencies of society did not require a 
large expenditure of money, and accordingly 
Mrs. Hartley did not live up to her income ; 
did not, in fact, use a fourth of it. 
^ The poor. Miss Moffat could not fail to see, 
were the real benefactors of their country. 
They gave their labour, and out of their poverty 
they were liberal ; they gave the ready 
handful of meal, the bannock of griddle bread, 
the sieve-full of potatoes, the drink of milk, 
the abundance of their sympathy, the cheerful 
courtesy of their manners, the smiling promp- 
titude of their charity ; and Grace, who was a 
little shy, whom neither the lower nor the 
higher classes exactly understood, seeing 
everything, laid it to heart, and made a 
trembling vow that when she came to her 
own, when she attained the advanced age of 
one-and-twenty, she would try to use her 
wealth aright, and see whether even a woman 
might not do something to regenerate the 
country she loved so dearly. 

If Mr. Moffat had ever entertained any 
romantic ideas of the same description, thov 

The EarPs P> 


Avero dead and buried years before this story 

Taking the world round, no mattei* lio^v 
many persons a man begins with being at- 
tached to. he generally ends in liking him- 
self better than any of them. 

To this rule Mr. Moffat proved no exception. 
Grace and himself now formed the only pro- 
minent figures in his life's design, and at that 
time Grace stood a little behind himself. 

IsTot a bad man, not a dishonourable, but 
yet he buried his talent in the ground, and 
returned no interest for all wherewith his Lord 
had trusted him. 

The people, by which phrase I mean those 
whose rank was socially lower than his own, 
liked him very well indeed. 

He was a '' foreigner," and consequently 
could not be supposed to understand their 
ways ; but they found him always civil . He 
was a '' gentleman," if a very quiet one. He 
rarely addressed them, but when he did, ''he 
was civil and well-spoken." 

'^He never made free." On the whole^ 

Introduces the Name of Amos Scott. 12^ 

Mr. Moffat was popular, allowances being 
readily made for his love of books and solitude. 

Specially he was liked amongst the]^Glendare 
tenantry. Once or twice he had spoken to 
the ^'Aggent," as Mr. Dillwyn was generally 
styled, and effected good by his mild inter- 

With beaming face, Mrs. Scott, a middle- 
aged woman, whose face was framed in the 
universal white frilled cap, and who wore a 
blue-checked apron, came out to meet him. 

''Is your husband at home, ^Frs. Scott?'' 
asked her visitor. 

'' ^N'o, sir ; he has gone to Eosemont, to see 
th' Airl. We'll get our lease promised now, 
plaize God." 

''My leader has cast a shoe," explained 
Mr. Moffat. " May I leave him here for an 
hour or two ? " 

' An' Avelcome, sir ; shall I unloose him ? " 

" You, Mrs. Scott ! certainly not ; Jerry can 
attend to him. There, easy man, easy. Mind 
how you pull off that bridle." 

Afterwards it occurred to Mr. Moffat, with 

2 24 The Eaj'Ps Proinise, 

ii feeling as near remorse as he was capable of 
experiencing, that if he had not been quite so 
wrapped up that summer's day in himself and 
his leader, he might have uttered a word of 
warning to the farmer's hard-working wife. 

They were as innocent as children of the 
world's ways, those men and those women, 
and happy as children in their innocence, till 
they had to pay the penalty of such ignorance. 




Amoxgst his friends and acquaintances Amos 
Scott's homestead was considered a marvel of 
convenience and luxury, whilst by gentle and 
simple alike Mr. Scott himself was regarded as 
a very fortunate man — one with whom the 
world had prospered exceedingly. As his 
neighbours expressed his lot, ^' He was born 
on a sunny morning," and the sunshine had 
through forty years scarcely ever been obscured 
by a cloud. 

He farmed the land his fathers had farmed 
before him. He married the woman of his 
choice, and that woman chanced to have a 

VOL. I. Q 

26 The EarPs Promise, 

stocking full of money to her dowry ; his 
children — all save one Eeuben — were strong, 
straight, healthy; he was respected and well 
liked by his equals, his superiors, and his 
inferiors. He paid for his two sittings at the 
Presbyterian Meeting-house, and the minister 
drank tea with him and his wife thrice a year 
at all events. The murrain had left his cattle 
untouched; all his children, old enough to 
have sounded such depths of knowledge, could 
read and write. Eeuben, indeed, thanks to 
Grace Moffat, boasted a much wider range of 
learning. He was the "scholard" of the 
family, and the family entertained an openly- 
expressed expectation that some day — thanks 
again to Miss Gracie — he would be a school- 
master, and a secret hope that, thanks to his 
own abilities and the still not to be despised 
contents of the typical stocking, he might enter 
the ministry. 

It was entirely as a social question, as a 
matter of rising in the world, that Amos Scott 
desired this result. To him the ministry 
merely represented a body of men who taught 

At the Castle Farm. 227 

the same creed as that he believed, and who, 
not labouring with their hands, filled a better 
position than any mere farmer might hope to 
occupy. He, Amos Scott, was too staunch a 
Presbyterian to regard the clergy from any 
superstitious or popish point of view. He 
always considered himself and men like him 
as true descendants of the seven thousand who 
refused to bow their knee to Baal — who, being 
certainly of the elect, nevertheless threw good 
works in to swell the credit of the account 
their faith had previously balanced — and he 
and the thousands of his fellows who at that 
time doggedly, and bigotedly, and unchristianly, 
as it may seem, entered their daily protest 
against Popery, as surely — from a political 
point of view — stood between their country 
and destruction as the Derry Apprentices saved 
Ireland to England. 

Whether Ireland was grateful, or England 
is grateful, history alone can decide. When 
that history which has still to be written is 
published, the staunch and sturdy Presbyterians 
of the Black Xorth may possibly receive their 


2 28 The EarPs Promise. 

due meed of praise; but staunch and sturdy 
people, who hold strong opinions, and like 
exhibiting them to the world, are apt some- 
times to be voted bores, both by those who 
differ from them, and those who are indifferent 
to everything, and it is very possibly for this 
reason, and no better one, that statesmen and 
peacemakers, and those who consider the 
Eoman Catholic religion ^' pictui-esque," and 
suited to the '^ Celtic nature," and adapted to 
afford comfort and happiness to ^^poor, warm- 
hearted, enthusiastic persons," have all con- 
sidered and do all consider the stiff-necked 
Protestantism of the Irish minority — powerful, 
though a minority — one of the chief causes of 
the '' Irish difficulty." 

Certainly, in the North, at the time of which 
I write, the Eoman Catholics had but a poor 

What with the favourite form of drunken 
expletive which consigned the Pope to regions 
hot and gloomy ; what with party tunes. Orange 
processions, and that which is hardest perhaps 
of all to bear, the visiting the sins of a system 

At the Castle Farm. 229 

on individuals, and assuming them capable of 
any crime merely because they belonged to a 
S23ecial Church, it was not easy for '' Papists, ^^ 
as the rival sects loved to style Koman Catholics, 
to order their course aright. 

They were the few amongst the many in the 
North. In the South the tables were turned, 
and Protestants did not find it easy to please 
the warm-hearted peasantry, who had then, as 
now, a fancy for cold lead and firing from 
behind hedges. 

But it is with the North we are concerned, 
with Ulster when the Church as by law esta- 
blished stood much in the position of Saul. 
She counted her thousands, but Calvin his tens 
of thousands. ISTineteen-twentieths of the 
people went to ^'Meeting." I should like to 
see the man who to this day dare call a 
^^ Meeting-house " ^^ Chapel " in Ulster. They 
were a hard, stubborn, honest people, who 
kept the Lord's Day with an almost New 
England strictness, who prayed to the Lord 
standing, and who sang His praises sitting, and 
who were, it should please almost any person to 

230 The EarPs Promise, 

imagine, a race the Lord Himself, Who knows 
all hearts, might have loved, so keen was their 
sense of duty, their feeling of responsibility, 
their love of justice, their respect for appointed 

To men accustomed to more artificial society, 
their manners might seem a trifle brusque, 
their words too plain to be always pleasant ; 
but underneath a rough exterior, hearts beat 
leal and noble. 

Here and there, not at long intervals, but 
within any one human being's ken, might 
have been picked out men and women capable 
of as noble deeds, of as grand sacrifices, as any 
which are deemed worthy of being chronicled 
in romance, and one of those men was Amos 
Scott, and one of those women was his wife. 

At any hour of the day or night had Grace 
Moffat tapped at their door, and said, — 

^' We are in sore trouble, we want all the 
help you can give," without a second thought, 
though they were a close-fisted pair, sparing 
on themselves, devoted to bargains, given to 
haggling about halfpence — the contents of the 

At the Castle Farm, 2^ i 

magical stocking would have been poured into 
her lap, and had need occurred Amos would 
have threshed out his corn, and sold his cows, 
and parted with his pigs, and handed the pro- 
ceeds to the young lady, with as little thought 
of having acted with marvellous generosity as 
a child, in as fine a spirit of chivalry as moved 
those poor, weather-beaten fishermen who, 
some seventy years ago, rowed a gallant gentle- 
man — gallant, if mistaken — out of sight of 
land, and then, resting on their oars, pulled 
forth the paper offering one thousand pounds 
reward for their passenger, and asked him if 
he ^^knew any body answering to that descrip- 
tion." He had thought his disguise perfect, 
fancied himself safe in it, and behold his whole 
safety lay and had lain in the honour of those 
men who were carrying him to the sloop 
destined to bear one most unfortunate to France 
and liberty. 

And yet to look at Amos Scott and his wife 
was to destroy the idea of all romance in 
connexion with them. Hearty and healthy 
were they both : strong, bony, large -framed, 

232 The EarPs Pro7nise. 

hard-featured. He had been a ruddy-com- 
plexioned, bashful fair-haired gossoon when he 
first beheld his future wife, the buxom, 
strapping daughter of a village innkeeper. 
Dark brown was her hair in those days, thick 
and long enough to twine in ropes round the 
back of her head ; dark brown, also, were her 
eyes, and she had a large, frank mouth, and 
large white even teeth, and a complexion de- 
licate, and clear, and beautiful, like most other 
girls of her nation ; but the years had come and 
gone since then, and the ''gossoon" was a 
middle-aged man, and his wife's hair was 
tucked away under one of those caps which 
cease to be picturesque when once the starch 
is out of them, and she had wrinkles after the 
manner of her class — everywhere — and she 
had lost some of her teeth, and her voice was 
— well — I love the accent, the honest, friendly 
accent of the lower classes in that romantic, 
and picturesque, and sorrowful land ; but Mr. 
Moffat, being an Englishman, though partially 
acclimatized, did not admire it any more than 
he admired the dung-heap — graced with a sow 

At the Castle Far77i, 233 

and a dozen young ones — that rose to the left 
hand of the '^ causeway," or the sodden, rotting 
straw, wherein were scratching and peck- 
ing some thirty fowls that lay to the right of 
the said causeway, marking the spot whence a 
previous midden had been removed. 

^' Won't you come in, sir, and sit down off 
your feet ? '^ asked Mrs. Scott hospitably, 
anxious to show a gentleman, whose nature she 
did not in the least understand, all the hospi- 
tality in her power; but Mr. Moffat, with a 
gesture almost of dread, declined the proffered 

Once had he been seduced into that abode, 
once by Grace, and he always thought after- 
wards, with horror, of the sufferings endured 
within the walls of Mr. Scott's mansion. 

Cheese had been produced for their delec- 
tation, — Cheese, a species of food Mr. Moffat, 
being a man of weak digestion and given to 
considering his ailments, loathed. Further, it 
was new cheese, such as the Irish eat at births 
and funerals (washing it down with whisky), 
new cheese, dotted with caraway seeds, and 

234 ^^^^ EarPs Promise. 

with this Mrs. Scott set out oaten bread, and 
butter fresh and good, but butter made with 
Mrs. Scott's own hands, which did not look 
inviting, and butter-milk and sweet-milk : and 
he was expected to eat. 

If Mr. Moffat were not genial, and I am not 
aware his worst enemy ever laid that virtue in 
the form of a vice to his charge, at all events 
he was courteous. The feast was spread so 
humbly and so willingly, with such a simple 
hospitality and belief that because it chanced 
to be the best the house held it would be 
received kindly, that Mr. Moffat could not 
choose but break a piece off the oat cake and 
eat it 

'^ Do you know poor papa can scarcely ever 
touch butter and never eats cheese," said Grace 
to Mrs. Scott, gaily helping herself to a great 
piece of cake and an enormous slice of butter, 
^'and you know I do not like caraways — you 
always make my cheese without them," which 
speech contained an allusion to the fact of its 
being Mrs. Scott's annual custom to present 
Miss Moffat with a cheese of her own 

At the Castle Farm. 235 

Great were the ceremonies attendant on that 
presentation, which was always performed by 
Mrs. Scott in person, and the cheese invariably 
proved remarkably good. Perhaps, had Grace 
beheld the modus operandi of its manufacture, 
she might not have regarded the article as a 
delicacy, for all Mrs. Scott's progeny assisted 
at the tub, and little hands, not so clean as 
might have been desired, dabbled in the whey. 

What the eye does not see, the heart, 
however, does not grieve over, and Ireland is 
not the only country in which mothers, 
impressed by a fatal delusion that their off- 
spring can touch nothing without improving it, 
permit children to meddle with and dabble in 
affairs more important than the separation of 
curd from whey. 

As for those youngsters at the Tower Farm, 
Grace loved them every one. All the later 
babies she had nursed and cooed over. One of 
them was called after her, Grace Moffat Scott, 
and had it been possible for such a suggestion 
to be made to the Presbyterian mind, she would 
gladly have stood godmother to the new 

236 The EarPs Promise. 

As it was, Amos Scott's convictions saved 
her from assuming any such responsibility, and 
Miss Moffat, thus debarred from any public 
evidence of affection, had to content herself 
with fondling the infant so long as it was little, 
and tossing it up to the ceiling the while it 
cooed and shrieked an ecstatic accompaniment, 
and letting it, as age advanced, come like the 
rest to see what she had in her pockets, what 
'' comforts and lozengers," were there lying 
jperdu for subsequent delectation. 

Often on Saturdays Nettie O'Hara and she 
had made up a picnic party all by themselves, 
and taking their luncheon with them, so as to 
alleviate the pangs of hunger, held high festival 
among the ruins of the tower which gave a 
name to Amos Scott's farm. 

Dear to Grace was every inch of that farm, 
one of the delights of her childhood had been 
to accompany her nurse thither. There were 
not so many importunate urchins then to claim 
Mrs. Scott's attention, and every moment of 
her time could therefore be devoted to her 
little lady guest. 

At the Castle Farm, 237 

For her — the motherless, black -frocked, 
grave, old-fashioned orphan — were saved the 
reddest and sunniest apples in the orchard ; for 
her was baked the first ^' bannock " that could 
be manufactured out of new potatoes ; for her 
always was kept a comb of honey ; for her the 
" strippings" from the best cow, which Grace, 
who was warned at home that new milk 
^^ would make her yellow," regarded in the 
light of a forbidden indulgence, and drank 
rapturously out of the lid of a tin can ; for her, 
surreptitious rides on Pat, the donkey, and 
Eob, the venerable black pony, over whose 
decease she subsequently wept bitter tears ; for 
her a hundred thousand welcomes ; for her the 
best that house held, while she was still so 
little as to be unable to guess how much out 
of their small means these people were giving 
her, how royally in their own poor way they 
were entertaining a child who it seemed 
scarcely likely would ever directly or indirectly 
benefit them in any way. 

Not out of interested motives, however, did 
they welcome the little maiden ; not because 

238 The EarVs Promise. 

of any return they looked for did they welcome 
her to the farm, and make her free of house 
and byre, of stable, garden, orchard, and 
paddock. In those early days they wanted 
nothing from any one : in the latter days, 
when we make their acquaintance, they still 
wanted nothing from any one save a renewal of 
their still unexpired lease from Lord Glendare, 
and for that they were willing and able to pay. 
The rent had never yet been more than a 
temporary trouble to Amos Scott. The land 
was exceptionally good. The amount he paid 
for it exceptionally low. Stiff premiums had 
indeed twice been paid by Amos and his father, 
but they were able to afford them. 

There is a great deal in '' starting square." 
They had done so, and by dint of prudence, 
economy, and hard labour, were enabled to 
keep themselves that ten pounds before the 
world which means affluence, instead of that 
ten pounds behind which means perpetual 

And for these reasons and many more, had 
Grace been thrice the heiress she was, and of 

At the Castle Farm. 239 

age, and holding her whole fortune in her own 
hand, it would have made no difference 
(pecuniarily) to the Scotts. They did not 
want gifts or loans, they could earn as much 
as they needed and desired, indeed, would have 
accepted nothing more. They could pay for 
their children's schooling, and spared them 
to go to school except in the very height of 
hay-making, reaping, or potato-digging. Had 
Miss Moffat or her father offered to be at the 
sole expense of educating one of the children, 
they would have resented the idea almost as 
an insult, but when Grace, in her own quiet 
way, proposed to do a still greater thing, 
namely, teach the feeble one of the flock all 
that she knew herself, the parents caught at the 
notion; and the girl herself, still almost a 
child, gave her lessons with a sweet patience, 
with a determined perseverance, with a 
thoroughness and kindly .encouragement Xettie 
O'Hara might have envied. 

But she did nothing of the kind ; she only 
1 lughed at Grade's fancy for playing at school- 

240 The EarP s Promise. 

^' You can't think, dear, how much I learn 
myself in teaching him," said Grace, not in 
the least disturbed by her friend's ridicule. 

Once again Nettie laughed. 

*' If I had your fortune, I should not care 
how little I knew." 

^' You would like to know how to spend it 
though," said Grace, with a pretty sense of 

^^ Oh ! somebody else will do that for you." 

"^N'eyer," answered Grace, ^^ never; Nettie, 
how often am I to tell you no one shall ever 
persuade me to leave Bay view and papa ? " 

'' But your papa will spend it for you," said 
Nettie, hastily drawing back her foot from the 
conversational hole into which she had un- 
wittingly thrust it. 

Now came Grace's turn to laugh. 

''Dear papa does not know how to spend 
his own," she exclaimed ; " and perhaps when 
I have money, I shall know as little what to do 
with it as he. But oh ! Nettie, I hope I shall 
learn ; I am trying so hard to understand what 
is wanted most in this world." 

At the Castle Farm, 241 

^' Money for everybody, I think," Nettie 
retorted, a little bitterly. After all, the 
difference was great between the embryo 
heiress and the embryo governess. Perhaps 
Grace felt it to be so, for she embraced her 
friend tenderly, and Nettie certainly saw the 
distinction clearly, and attribnted to it results 
that did not always accrue from the premises 
she imagined. 

For instance she always fancied the welcome 
to Castle Farm was more cordial to Grace than 
to herself, because Grace had money and she- 
none ; whereas the Scotts would have greeted 
Grace the same had she not owned a stiver^ 
and liked Nettie even less than was the case^ 
had some benevolent person left her ten thou- 
sand a year. 

Wonderfully quick are the wisest of the 
lower orders all the world over at reading 
character ; shrewd even beyond their class are 
the Irish, and more especially the northern 
Irish, in detecting the faintest token of a false 
ring in the human coin. And, spite of her 
beauty, which had won such golden opinions 

VOL. I. R 

242 TJic EarPs Promise. 

from the gentlemen and ladies of Kingslougli 
— both being for once unanimous in the mat- 
ter — the Scotts thought it ^vas a pity '' Miss 
Grace was so wrapt up in that Miss jS'ettie.'^ 

Nevertheless, in their own way, both hus- 
band and wife were unaffectedly grieved 
when they heard of the trouble ]N'ettie had 
wrought for herself, and it was with subdued 
voice and grave face that Mrs. Scott said to 
her chance visitor, while Jerr}^ took that ^' con- 
trary divil Finn,'' as he styled him, into the 
stable, — 

^' Miss Grace '11 have heard, sir, that Miss 
N"ettie —Mrs. Brady, begging her pardon, has 
come home." 

^^ I do not think she has," answered Mr. 
Moffat, with a sudden repression of manner 
which did not escape Mrs. Scott's notice. 
^^ When did she come ? where is she?" 

'' Where should she be, sir, but in her 
husband's house ? — bad luck to him — that's 
where she is ; and as for when she come home, 
I was over at my cousin's two days ago — 
she's in great trouble, having just buiied her 

At the Castle Faiiii. 243 

husband, the Lord help her, and nme children 
to fill and to find — and as I was coming home 
through the gloaming I met them on the car, 
Mr. Dan driving. He nodded to me and gave 
me the time of da}'. They were walking the 
horse down the Abbey brae, but she had 
her face covered with a A^eil and looked 
neither one way nor another. I thought to 
myself, ^that's a coming home for an O'Hara.' 
She has made a rough bed for herself to lie 
on, and a purty creature, too." 

'•Mrs. Scott," said Mr. Mofi'at, ''1 wish 
you would answer me one question straight- 
forwardly and in confidence, entirely in con- 
fidence you understand. What is this man 
Brady ? what has he done, what liar, he left 
undone, to have such a mark placed against 
his name ? As you are aware, I do not put 
myself in the way of hearing idle gossip ; I 
disapprove of people who are never happy 
except when meddling in tlieir neighbours' 
business, but you know how it was with my 
little girl and Miss O'llara- — and — " 

'' God bless Miss Grace, she'll want to be 


244 ^/^^ EarPs Pyoniise. 

running oif after Miss iS'ettie the minute she 
hears of her home-coming; but don't let her, 
sir, don't. Miss JSTettie has made her bed, 
and neither man nor woman can help her to 
unmake it now, and don't let Miss Grace 
try to meddle or to make. Don't put it in 
anybody's power to say Dan Brady ever spoke 
a word to her, or she to him. 

"Yes — yes, my good woman," interposed 
Mr. Moffat testily, ''I know all that, I know 
everybody is in the same story about Mr. 
Daniel Brady, but what I want to hear is, 
what has he done? Why do the well-edu- 
cated and highly-civilized population of Eings- 
lough denounce this really decidedly good- 
looking and rather well-mannered young man, 
as though he were a sinner past redemption ? 
What has the man done ? " 

'^ Is it about Brady, sir, ye're asking that 
question, joined in a male voice at this junc- 
ture ; and, looking round, Mr. Moffat beheld 
Amos Scott, who had just returned home. 
'^If so be it is, I'll make free to answer it 
myself? What has he done? what hasn't 

At flic Castle Farm. 245 

he done, except what it was his right to do ? 
that is more to the point. They say he forged 
his grandfather's will; he broke his mother's 
heart ; he had a grudge against a man, and 
swore that about him which sent him beyond 
the seas ; he has always the best of a bargain ; 
ay, and there's not a father in the county 
whose heart hadn't need to be sore if he saw 
one of his girls even say, ^ Good mornin',' to 
Daniel Brady." 

^'That's it, is it?" commented Mr. Moffat, 
briefly. He knew enough of the people he 
lived among to understand the full significance 
of the latter part of Mr. Scott's sentence. 
Parents had as a rule sufficient faith in their 
daughters to leave them to take care of them- 
selves, and as a rule their daughters justified 
the trust reposed in them. Nevertheless 
girls were sometimes deceived, and the man 
who made it his occupation to lure them to 
'^misfortune," so the tender phi-ase went, 
was not likely to receive much toleration at 
the hands of the masses. 

In a country like Ireland, where women 

246 TJic EarP s Promise. 

liave an exceptional liberty of action, sj^eech^ 
and manner — a liberty unknown even in 
England — it is natural tliat fathers, brothers, 
and husbands should resist the smallest en- 
croachment on such freedom ; should cast a 
libertine out from fo miliar intercourse with 
their families as though he were a leper. 

If a man was bad let him consort with 
bad company, and refrain from bringing social 
and moral destruction into decent houses. 

Mr. Daniel was bad and had consorted with 
bad company, and no respectable man cared 
to have much intimate acquaintance with 
him ; and to his other sins he had now added 
the offence of having run off with a very 
lonely and pretty girl. 

For that offence, however, Mr. Moffat felt 
no desire to quarrel with him. On the whole, 
he was perhaps rather pleased than otherwise 
that jS'ettie had chosen for her husband one 
whose position and character rendered further 
acquaintance between her and his daughter 

Nettie had ^been as great a pest to him as 

At the Castle Farm. 247 

it was possible for a young girl to prove to 
an elderly gentleman ^Y]lo spent much, of liis 
time in his library. It would be absurd to 
say that he grudged the preserves, and bis- 
cuits, and milk, the tea, and the bread and 
butter, wherewith Grace was wont to enter- 
tain her friend, but he did dislike Nettie's 
perpetual presence. Golden curls, blue eyes, 
pink and white cheeks, did not make up his 
ideal of feminine perfection, and had he 
admired and liked Nettie ever so much, and 
he neither particidarly liked nor admired her, 
it would still have been a burden and a 
weariness to him to sec her so perpetually 
about the house. 

To him she appeared as obnoxious and 
strange a visitor to have constantly hovering 
round the premises as a strange cat prowling 
over his flower-beds seems to a careful gar- 

He had never hoped to get completely rid 
of her, and yet, lo ! in a moment, Mr. Brady 
had procured his deliverance. On the whole, 
therefore, Mr. 3Iofi[iit was not disposed to 

248 The EarPs Promise. 

judge Mr. Brady severely. Perhaps, on the 
whole, he felt pleased to think his code of 
morals was objectionable ; possibly he did not 
fret because Mr. Brady had placed himself, 
and, as a matter of course, his wife, out of 
the pale of decent society. 

Miss Nettie had chosen, and for the future 
Bayview would be free of that young lady at 
all events. 

Such were the thoughts that passed through 
Mr. Moffat's mind while Amos Scott continued 
a rambling tirade against Mr. Brady and his 
sins of omission and commission. 

'^ You must have been away betimes this 
morning,'' he remarked at length, feeling it 
would be only civil before he went to refer 
to some matter personal to his host. 

^^No, sir, I met th' Airl a couple of miles 
on the other side of Kingslough, and would 
you please to tell Miss Grace it is all right ? 
he has promised me the new lease." 

''You will have to pay for it, though, I 
suppose," answered Mr. Moffat. 

" Yes, sir; but thank God we have a pound 

At the Castle Farm. 249 

or two to the fore, and we would rather 
pinch a hit, if need was, than leave th' ould 

'^That is natural,'' remarked Mr. Moffat; 
and then, his leader having heen comfortably 
disposed of by Jerry, he bade good-day to 
Mr. and Mrs. Scott, and slowly retraced his 
way to the main road, miittering maledictions 
against the ^' divisional" as he went. 




At one time, a pernicious habit obtained 
across the channel, a habit which unfortunately 
appears to have latterly been imported into 
England, of bestowing Christian names on 
country-seats. A son, fond of his mother^ 
bought a property possessed of some old Irish 
cognomen, and forthwith the place became 
Kittymount, or Hannah Yille, or Jinny Brook, 
or St. Margaret's. Sometimes men also came 
in for their share of this delicate attention, 
and Eobertsford, and Williamsford, and Mount 
George, or Knock Denis, perpetuated the 
name of some favoured member of the race. 

]\Ir. Daniel Brady Receives. 2^1 

To this custom Maryville, the seat of Mr. 
Daniel Brady, owed its nomenclature. 

A certain heiress, in the days when the 
Bradj's owned a considerable amount of pro- 
perty, married a younger son of that family. 

With her money a small estate, on which 
stood an unpretending cottage residence, was 
purchased, a large house erected, a park 
fenced in, gardens laid out, lodge and lodge- 
entrance proyided, and then Mr. and Mrs. 
Theophilus Brady took up their abode at 

Acre after acre the principal estate changed 
hands ; one by one the older branches of the 
family died out. My Lord Ardmorne owned 
all the broad lands that had once belonged 
to the old Bradys, but Maryyille still remained 
to the descendants of Theophilus. The porter's 
lodge Ayas in ruins, the gates hanging on one 
hinge stood wide, the park was a wilderness, 
in the gardens weeds grew knee-deep, and the 
currant and gooseberry trees were smothered 
with bind-wecd and conyolyulus. 

As for the house, a few of the rooms were 

TJie EarPs Pn 


habitable, and these Mr. Daniel Brady occu- 
pied. He lived there all alone, in company 
with an elderly housekeeper, whose age and 
looks were sufficient guarantee for her pro- 
priety ; lived there, a man at war with society, 
a man who was at feud with the world, a man 
who said he was determined some day to ^<di 
the better of society, and make those who had 
once snubbed him glad of his company. 

^' It is all a question of money," he said 
openl}^ '' If they thought I was rich, they 
would be glad enough to ask me to their houses, 
hang them." 

However great a cad a man may be, it is 
extremely unlikely he should acknowledge 
the fact, even to himself. Indeed, he is 
always the only person who remains entirely 
unconscious of the circumstance, and therefore, 
although Mr. Brady was aware that for a 
considerable period those of his race who 
had preceded him had found themselves 
neglected by the upper ten of Kingslough and 
its neighbourhood, that for generations his 
people had dropped out of the rank of gentry. 

Mr, Daniel Brady Receives, 253 

and that his own existence was virtually 
tabooed by persons who made the slightest 
pretension to respectability ; still he persisted 
this social ostracism originated in circum- ^ 
stances entirely independent of character ; that 
the Bradys had gone down, not because they 
were, in their humbler way, as bad, and wild, 
and reckless, and selfish, and self-willed as 
the Glendares, but because his great-grand- 
father had married a shopkeeper's daughter, 
and his aunt had elected to go off with the 
particularly handsome son of a small farmer, 
who was no higher in rank than a labourer, 
while his mother, sick, doubtless of the 
Bradys and people like them, chose for her 
second husband an Englishman who made her 
comfortable, though he did drop his h's, and 
whose connexion with himself Mr. Daniel 
utterly repudiated. 

After her marriage, the youth, then in his 
very early teens, was taken by his maternal 
gi'andfather, who, spite of wars and rumeurs 
of wars, spite of various threats expressive of 
an intention to kick his grandson out of his 

2 54 TJie EarPs Promise. 

liousGj spite of the contempt he felt for ^' that 
€ur," as he habitually designated Daniel, left 
to that young man everything of which he 
died possessed, and passing by his daughter, 
devised and bequeathed his small corn-mill, 
liis farm, held at an almost nominal rent for a 
long term, his furniture, his horses, and his 
blessing to the youthful reprobate. 

No one ever believed Mr. Parrell signed 
that will knowing its contents. Most people 
went so far as to believe he never signed it at 
all, and amongst the latter number was in- 
cluded the heir's mother. This idea and a 
stormy interview with her first-born were the 
proximate causes of her death. She had 
three children by her second marriage, and 
counted no donbt on inheriting the greater 
portion of her father's property, which in 
turn she would be able to bequeath to them. 
From the day of Mr. Tarrell's funeral, she 
never held np her head. Gradually she 
drooped, and pined, and died of a broken 
heart, that disease which doctors try to diag- 
nose in vain. 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives. 255 

Clear of all relations, possessed of a sum of 
money which, if really small, seemed com- 
paratively large to a man whose family had 
for so long a time been drifting in a rotten 
boat along the river of incapable expenditure 
to the river of ruin, Mr. Daniel Brady re- 
moved his grandfather's furniture to Mary- 
ville, which had long stood empty, gave the 
man who had rented the land during his 
minority notice to quit, let his corn-mill to a 
Scotch Irishman, whose soul was not above 
grinding and meal, as was the soul of the 
heir, and began to lead that life for Avhich he 
had long panted— a life of cheap debauchery, 
of economical villany, of consistent money- 

Looking at the moss-covered drive, at the 
rusty gates, at the desolate park, at the weed- 
covered gardens, a stranger might have said, 
rashly, '' The owner of this place must be a 

But Mr. Brady knew what he was about. 
A well-kept avenue, gates that opened noise- 
lessly, grass closely mown, gardens filled with 

c;6 Tlie EarPs Promise. 

fruit and flowers, all these things would have 
cost much whilst they returned nothing. 
They could return nothing to a man who 
wanted no help such as the appearance of 
wealth occasionally enables people to obtain. 
What he seemed would not, he was shrewd 
enough to understand, have the smallest 
weight with a community who mentally 
counted every sixpence of his inheritance 
the moment he laid claim to it. What he 
had would, he knew, be regarded ultimately 
with respect. Perhaps the Irish may not like 
moneyed men, but certainly they reverence 

The almighty dollar will exercise its in- 
fluence as well amongst persons who swear 
against it as amongst those who swear by it. 
Mr. Daniel Brady was no fool in worldly 
matters, and he had early recognized the 
truth of that maxim which states, ''Money is 

What would the end find him ? A preten- 
tious snob, or a grubbing miser ? The soil on 
which both grow is the same. The earth of 

Mr, Daniel Brady Receives. 257 

which he was made could be moulded as 
readily into one as the other. He had youth 
in his favour, and youth is pliable. If a 
selfish, self-indulgent, insolent, meanly ex- 
travagant braggart be preferable in the reader's 
opinion to a wretched old miser, there is a 
chance for Mr. Daniel Brady exhibiting him- 
self in the former character. At the time this 
story opens, however, he was in training for a 
miser. He was that most wonderful thing in 
creation, a young man niggardly even over 
his pleasures, calculating even concerning the 
things his soul most longed for, who was 
never led away by the voice of praise, or 
turned by that of censure, who had no im- 
pulses of generosity, kindliness, remorse ; a 
wonderful thing, but not an uncommon. The 
world has a great many Daniel Bradys travel- 
ling through it, though we may reck not of 
their existence. 

If the characters of men could be revealed 
when they give up their railway-tickets at the 
end of their morning journeys, it might sur- 
prise a good many unsuspecting people to 

VOL. I. s 

258 TJie EarPs Pro??iis-e. 

discover the number of unmitigated scoundrels 
who have lent them the Times^ or discoursed to 
them about the state of the weather and the 

Mr. Brady was an unmitigated scoundrel. 
The higher orders tabooed his existence ; the 
middle regretted he had come to Maryville ; 
the lower hated him. 

IN'ow the love of the lower orders is often 
open to be viewed with suspicion. Meretricious 
qualities may win it, adventitious circum- 
stances secure it. About their hate there is 
no such mistake. They hate a man because 
of such and such qualities, which he possesses 
or does not possess, and there is an end of the 
matter. Had Mr. Brady announced to the 
beggars of Kingslough and its neighbourhood 
that on a given day he would distribute fifty 
pounds in charity, they would have known he 
had an ulterior object in view. 

As it was, he never gave them a halfpenny, 
and that seemed a vice to the majority in those 
remote days, ere the Marquis of Townshend 
had begun his crusade against mendicants. 

Mr, Daniel Brady Receives. 259 

Then most people gave according as he or 
she coukl, gave to beggars who asked, and 
gave to the decent and reticent poor who 
would not ask, but whom they sought out 
and assisted. 

Not a practicable thing to do, perhaps, at 
this time of the world, when the workhouse 
doors stand hospitably open to receive those 
who like to enter in and relinquish hope. 
Certainly not a practicable thing to do now, 
when the labouring classes say they are the 
dictators; that they will have pence, and 
sixpences, and sovereigns out of the pockets 
of capitalists, whether capitalists lose or 
gain; but then — then — ah! heaven, — what 
was not a gift thrown to a half-naked beggar ? 
It meant a day's food. "What good did not 
the present stealthily bestowed on a family 
too proud too ask, too lonely to have friends, 
effect ? It enabled struggling people to turn 
many an ugly corner, to keep a home, poor 
though it was, together, and avoid that last 
vague necessity of ^' going out on the world," 
a phrase which expresses in such few words a 
fearful calamity. s 2 

26o The EarPs Promise. 

But neither openly nor by stealth did Mr. 
Brady perforin any of those small acts of 
charity so universal and so needful at that 
time in his country, and his sins of omission 
were as duly set down to the debit of his ac- 
count by an observant and exacting population 
as those of commission. 

The very beggars hated him. The idiots, 
who then wandered loose about every town and 
village in Ireland, never with grotesque gesture 
and jabbering tone entreated a halfpenny 
of him. Instinctively the blind, knowing 
the sound of his horse's hoofs slunk on to the 
side path, or close up beside a wall or a hedge, 
on his approach ; the ragged, shoeless, home- 
less children never ran after that rider, pray- 
ing him to throw them a '^ farden ; " the deaf 
and dumb, who, according to popular belief, 
had ^' knowledge," and whom it was not well 
to anger, looked at him menacingly and raised 
clenched fists when he had passed ; whilst 
'' Trust in the Lord," so named because 
he was the religious begging impostor of 
Kingslough, maddened the young man by 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives, 261 

piously folding his hands when Mr. Brady- 
crossed his path, and uttering ejaculatory and 
audible prayers for all sinners, more especially 
" for this sinner, who may be called the chief 
of them all." 

As for Katty Clancy, who had begged her 
bread, and worn the same scanty petticoat, 
and covered her shoulders with the same 
washed out, ragged, picturesque, patchw^ork 
counterpane for forty long years, ^' a dissolute 
orphan," as she styled herself, till the ab- 
surdity of the lament was pointed out by 
Mrs. Hartley ; as for Katty, Mr. Daniel Brady 
hated that woman with a completeness of 
detestation to which no words could do jus- 

Others of her profession refrained from 
asking him for alms, but she took a delight in 
doing so, and in flinging some bitter taunt or 
jibe back in his face when he refused, 
generally with an oath, to give her one 

Their conversations were usually carried on 
somewhat as follows : — 

262 The EarPs Promise. 

^^ Good mornin', Mr. Brady, isn't that the 
beautiful day, God bliss it ? Yer astir airly. 
An' where is it ycr honour's goin' to in sich a 
hurry ? " 

^'To ," Mr. Brady replied, mentioning 

what Lord Stowell, in one of his judgments, 
styled a '^ favourite place of consignment." 

^' Ach, well yer honour, it's a long journey, 
and I wish ye safe there," said Katty, with 
persistent courtesy, and then Mr. Brady, 
muttering an oath, walked off, while Katty 
solemnly shook her head, and said sotfo voce^ 
'' There's many a true word spoken in jest, 
and it's my belief, Dan Brady, ye are thravel- 
]in' that road as fast as time will let ye." 

Before IN'ettie O'Hara, however, Mr. Brady 
had contrived to appear the incarnation of 
every manly virtue. He told the girl how 
much he loved her, spoke of his own lonely 
life at Maryville, of his solitary home, of the 
unjust stories his enemies had circulated to 
his prejudice, of the manner in which he was 
excluded from society for no reason in the 
world except that some of his family had 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives, 263 

made mesalliances, and that he himself was 

^' But I mean to be rich one of these 
days, I^ettie," he finished, ^' if you will only 
help me — if you will onl}^ try to grow fond of 

K'ettie, unhappily, had no occasion to try to 
grow fond of him. She loved his handsome 
face, and the notion of sharing his lonely 
home had no terrors for her. 

She knew and he knew, it would be idle to 
ask her friends' consent. Indeed, he did not 
want it. He wanted her and he had got her. 
Flight was sudden at the last, but !Nfettie had 
long understood she meant to go off with him 
some day. 

And that day, and many, many other days 
had come and gone, and Nettie was home at 
Maryville, walking about the weed-covered 
garden, when her relatives the Eileys, father 
and son, paid their first visit to the house. 

Amongst the other rarities and attractions 
Maryville had once boasted were a fish-pond 
and a sundial. The first was green with 

264 The EarPs Proviise. 

slime and choked with the leaves of water- 
plants, whilst round the rotting pillar of the 
dial climbed briony and convolvulus. 

Beside the pond, with one hand resting on 
the slate time-teller, I^ettie stood motionless. 
She did not hear the footsteps of her relatives 
as they fell silently on moss-covered walks 
and grass-grown paths. She was dressed in 
white, she had a blue ribbon round her waist, 
and another of the same colour kept back her 
hair — her long, bright, beautiful hair. Never 
afterwards did General Eiley forget that 
picture, never could he quite efface from 
his memory the sight of that girl, almost a 
child, standing amongst that wilderness of 
rank vegetation, looking across the pond at a 
belt of dark firs which separated this portion 
of the gardens from the open park beyond. 

"JSTetde," John said softly; then with a 
start she turned and saw them, a colour rising 
in her face, and smiles dimpling her cheeks 
the while. 

'' Oh, General ! Oh, John ! this is kind 
of you," she said eagerly ; '' I did not think 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives. 263 

— that is, I did not hope — " and then she 
stopped and looked at them both, and General 
Eiley looked at his son, and John at his father, 
perplexed as to what they were to do next. 

^^ Are you quite well, ISTettie ? " asked the 
young man, after a moment's pause, look- 
ing a little doubtfully in her face, which, noAv 
the flush caused by their sudden appearance 
had died away, looked paler and thinner than 
ever he remembered to have seen it. 

^' Yes, very well, thank you," with an 
unnecessary emphasis on the very. "I am 
a little tired ; we only came home the even- 
ing before last, and you know I am not much 
accustomed to travelling." 

''Did you like Scotland?" 

'' Greatly, but I think I like Ireland best." 
There was a wistful anxious look in the 
blue eyes that neither man could help no- 
ticing, and ^N'ettie perceiving that they did 
so, went on to ask, quickly, '' How is Grace ? " 

" Well, I believe," John answered. 

'' You believe ? " she repeated. 

'' Yes," he said quietly. " I have not 

266 The Earl's P. 


seen Grace for some weeks. The fact is, she 
has refused me, and I am going away. You 
have not been in the neighbourhood, or you 
would have heard all about that long ago." 

Nettie did not reply, she stood looking 
at the fir-trees with great serious eyes. She 
seemed prettier then than John had ever 
before thought her — poor little girl. 

'^ We were told we should find Mr. Brady 
here," broke in General Eiley at this junc- 
ture. ^^ I suppose the servant made some 

^^ Then you did not come to see me!'''' she 
exclaimed, taking her eyes from the and 
fastening them on their faces. 

'' Of course we came to see you," said 
John falsely, but kindly. He could no<t 
endure the dumb anguish of her expression. 

"You did not," she said vehemently. 
'^ Don't tell untruths to me, John Eiley; 
you have come to talk to my husband about 
me, and to meddle in my concerns, but you 
did not come to see me as relations should 
come to see one another. You think I have 

Hir. Daniel Brady Receives. 267 

disgraced myself by marrying out of your rank 
— yours, what is it ?■ — and you do not want 
to visit me yourselves or to let your sisters do 
so. When my husband has a large property 
like yours, and money to keep it up, which 
he will have, and you never will, then I shall 
be able to pick and choose my friends, but till 
then I must be content to live without any/' 

Then, with a catching sob, she stopped, her 
eyes flashing, her cheeks aflame, while John 
Eiley, preventing his father answering, and 
passing over the sting her words held, said, — 

^^No one will be better pleased than we 
to hear you and your husband are happy and 
prosperous, Nettie. It would be useless to 
deny that we did, and do, regret the step 
you have taken, but that step has been taken, 
and it behoves us, as your nearest male 
friends, to see that its consequences prove 
as little disastrous to you as may be." 

^^You are very kind," said Nettie sarcas- 

'^ Our intentions are so, at all events," 
answered John, with a temper and a humility 
which touched even [N'ettie. 

268 The EarPs Promise. 

^' I believe," she said, ^' you are the best 
person in the workl, and I am sure your in- 
tentions are always good and kind, but you 
have made a mistake this time. It is not 
well to meddle between man and wife." 

^' When were you made man and wife?" 
asked the General, charging like an old 
soldier direct to the point he wanted to 

^^What business is that" of yours. General 
Eiley ? " she retorted. '' It was not you Mr. 
Brady married." 

'•Be reasonable, Nettie," interposed John. 
'' On my word we do not want to make or 
to meddle ; we only desire to protect, If we 
fail in our duty now, the day may come 
when you will say to us, 'I was but a girl, 
ignorant of the world, and you left me to 
bear the consequences of my rashness ; you 
never advised, you never helped me.' All 
we want to know is that you have been so 
securely married no doubt can be thrown 

upon the matter, and afterwards " he 


Mr. Daniel Brady Receives, 269 

" What about afterwards ? '' she asked. 

^^ We must leave afterwards to take care 
of itself, having done all it seemed possible 
in the present." 

^^Do you think I am not married, then?" 
she asked ; " that I would come back to 
Kingslough if — if " 

" There is no necessity for you to get into 
a passion with us, Nettie," interrupted her 
cousin. ^' We think no evil of you, but you 
are only a young and inexperienced girl, and 
to put the argument in a nutshell, we have 
taken this matter up, and mean to have it put 
in proper form." 

''You had better see my husband, then," 
she exclaimed. '' I do not suj^pose he will 
give you much of a welcome, but if you choose 
to insult a man in his own house, you have 
only yourselves to thank if you meet with 
scant courtesy," and with her head up in the 
air, and her blue ribbons floating, and her 
gulden curls glinting in the sunlight, Xettie 
led them out of the garden, and by a side door, 
into a small sitting-apartment, which had, 

270 TJie EarPs Promise. 

in the days when Maryville was in its glory, 
been an inner drawing-room or boudoir — my 
lady's closet, perhaps, where she conducted 
her correspondence, or worked at her em- 

A second door led to the drawing-room, 
which was bare of all furniture, unless a huge 
chandelier, a cracked girandole, and a rickety 
sofa could be so considered ; but the door was 
closed, and the Eileys could not see the 
nakedness of the land. 

Instead, they beheld an apartment fur- 
nished with a few chairs and a couple of tables, 
the floor covered with a somewhat faded 
Kidderminster carpet ; but, takiag one thing 
with another, the place did not look poverty 
stricken or uncomfortable. 

''It is not much of a home I am able to 
welcome you to," said Nettie, turning de- 
fiantly upon her relations, " but at least it 
is clear of debt." 

'' Nettie," replied John Eiley, "you can- 
not hurt us, so say what you please ; at the 
same time I would ask if you think it worth 

/7/r. Daniel Brady Receives. 271 

while to try and insult those who have no 
object in being here beyond that I have 

*^ Some day, child," added the General, 
'-^ you may understand it is better to be 
honestly indebted than dishonestly clear of 

'•' I never could understand paradoxes," said 
Xettie, and she sat down beside the window, 
her white hands linked together in her lap, 
and her pretty head averted from her visitors 
till Mr. Brady, for whom she had sent, en- 

Ere long Mr. Brady appeared. He came 
in with a slight swagger, looking a little 
nervous, but handsome and defiant as ever. 

" This is a pleasure I did not hope for so 
soon," he began. '^ Glad to see you. General. 
How do you do, Squire ? " and he extended 
his hand to the visitors, but General Eiley 
crossed his behind his back, and John thrust 
his in his pockets. 

It was not a pleasant position for any one 
of the four, most unpleasant of all, perhaps. 

2'] 2 The EarPs Promise. 

for Nettie, and yet she alone was equal to 
the occasion. 

'•'- Do you mean, John Eiley," she said, 
turning upon him like a fury, '^ that you 
refuse, having voluntarily come into this 
house, to shake hands with its master, my 
husband? " 

^' No man will be more ready than I, 
TsTettie, to give my hand to Mr. Brady when 
he has proved himself worthy to take it," John 
answered steadily. 

^'I understand you," answered Mr. Brady, 
^^ this is a business visit ? " 

^' Strictly so," was the reply. 

^' You had better leave us to discuss busi- 
ness, Annette," said Mr. Brady slowly. '' Pray 
be seated, gentlemen ; " then after the sound 
of Nettie's footsteps had died away he went 
on, " Now what do you want ? what is it? " 

"We want to know if you are married to 
my cousin ? " said John. 

"You had better have put that question to 

" We have." 

Mr^ Daniel Brady Receives. 273 

^^ And what answer did she give you ? " 

^^ She evidently considers she is legally 
your wife." 

^^ Then, what more do you want ? '^ 

'^ Proof that her idea is correct." 

^^ Supposing I refuse to give it ? " 

*^ We will make you give it, sir," inter- 
posed the General. 

"Two to one is scarcely fair," remarked 
Mr. Brady, " still curiosity makes me inquire 
how you propose to make me open my mouth 
if I choose to keep it shut ? " 

"I do not know — " the General was be- 
ginning, when his son interrupted him with — 

" One moment, father. I hope you mis- 
understood Mr. Brady's reply. This is not a 
matter, I should think, about which he would 
wish to keep us in the dark. It is absolutely 
essential," he went on, speaking to Mr. 
Brady, ^ ' that we should understand my 
cousin's position." 


'' Because if she be not your wife already, 
you must immediately make her so." 

VOL. I. T 

274 ^^^^ EarPs Pro7nise. 

" Again I ask, why ? " 

" Do you suppose we should allow her to 
remain with you an hour longer excepting as 
your wife ? " 

'-'- 1 really do not see how you are to help 

^^Mr. Brady," began John, ^' I cannot be- 
lieve you are speaking seriously. I think 
you must be trying to annoy us by persisting 
in what is at best but a very sorry sort of jest. 
"We have not come here to reproach you for 
the scandal you have caused a respectable 
family, for the advantage you have taken 
of an ignorant and unprotected girl. We 
merely desire to know if you have made her 
the only reparation in your power. Is she 
legally your wife ? " 

'' That is a question I decline to answer." 

^^ Is she not your wife ? " 

'-'- That, likewise, is a question I decline 
to answer." 

" You villain ! " exclaimed the General, 
"we will find means to make you answer," 
and he was advancing with raised hand and 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives. 275 

threatening gesture towards Mr. Brady, when 
his son stepped between them. 

^' We shall not do any good by using vio- 
lence, father," he said, putting a curb on his 
own temper, and clenching his fingers, which 
were itching to grasp his riding-whip, and 
lay it about the shoulders of the self-pos- 
sessed scoundrel who stood before him, smilino- 

'•'- There is only one course left open for us 
to pursue now ; we must take Nettie away, 
and get legal advice as to what we ought to 
do next." 

'' I apprehend your legal adviser will say that 
even loving relatives like you cannot separate 
husband and wife," replied Mr. Brady. 

^^ It will be for you then to prove that you 
are her husband." 

'' And what if Annette refuses to go ? " 

^' She will not remain here when I tell her 
how she has been deceived," was the answer, 
and John Eiley took up his hat and whip, 
and was following his father to the door, when 
Mr. Brady stopped them. 

276 The EarPs Promise, 

^^ A moment," lie said ; do not be in such a 
hurry, gentlemen. If you, General, will 
kindly restrain your temper, and you, Mr. 
Eiley, will kindly hold your tongue, perhaps 
some arrangement may be come to. I have 
declined," he went on, after a pause, ^Ho tell 
you whether the young lady in whose affairs 
you have interfered so officiously is my wife 
or not, for the extremely simple reason that I am 
not at all clear on the point myself. I think 
she is my wife if I like to claim her ; I think 
she is not my wife if I choose to repudiate 
her. It is an awkward position for her, cer- 
tainly, and I do not imagine it can be a plea- 
sant one for her relatives." 

''Well, sir?" said General Eiley, to whom 
this speech was specially addressed. 

'' To make the thing secure for her we cer- 
tainly ought to go through some sort of cere- 
mony, otherwise I do not see how she is 
either to prove that she is married or un- 
married. It is an awkward affair for me, too. 
I am a poor man. I had enough burdens 
before, without hampering myself with a wife. 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives, 277 

T cannot say I have much taste for domestic 
felicity; and after the specimen of good 
breeding you have given me to-day, I can 
imagine many things more desirable than a 
connexion with the Eiley family.'' 

'-'- In heaven's name what are you driving 
at ? " asked the General. ^^ We do not want a 
dissertation on your tastes and prejudices, we 
want to know, in a word, whether you will 
marry Nettie, or whether you will leave us to 
seek our remedy elsewhere." 

'^ Meaning at laAV ? " 

^' Meaning at law, and also that I will give 
you a thrashing you shall remember to your 
dying day," said John Eiley. 

^' I requested you to hold your tongue, did I 
not ? " retorted Mr. Brady coolly. ^^ As I was 
saying," he continued, addressing the General, 
''the holy state of matrimony is not one into 
which I have the least desire to enter, more 
especially with such a remarkably useless 
young lady as your relative ; still I am willing 
to meet your views. I am not desirous of 
raising any scandal, and if you like to make it 

278 The EarPs Promise. 

worth, my while 1 will take her for better for 

'''- Make it worth your while ? " repeated the 

''Yes, you do not expect me to do some- 
thing for nothing, do you? I shall have to 
board and clothe a young woman for the re- 
mainder of her days, and resign my liberty in 
addition. I do not want, however, to drive a 
hard bargain, or take advantage of your diffi- 
culty. The girl has, I believe, a hundred 
pounds or so of her own. Make it up five 
hundred, and I will send for the minister 
here, or marry her in church, whichever you 

'' I'll see you " 

To what lot or in what place General 
Eiley intended to say he would see the 
speaker may be imagined, but can never now 
be exactly known, for while he was uttering 
these words the door between the outer and 
the inner drawing-room opened, and Xettie 
herself appeared. 

''Take me away, John," she said, "take 

Mr. Daniel Brady Receives. 279 

me anywhere out of this house, away fr®in 

^^ You have been listening," observed Mr. 
Brady, disconcerted for the first time. 

^^ Yes, it was my affair and I had a right to 
hear. Take me away, John, from that bad, 
false man. Do you understand what I say ? 
Oh ! and I was so fond of him, and I believed 
him. I did," and she burst "into a fit of 
hysterical weeping, and her face, h-er shamed, 
grief-stained face, covered with her hands, 
hurried from the room. 

'' Go after her, John," said the General, 
^^ and keep her in the garden till I have settled 
this matter one way or other." 

'^And hark ye, mister," called out Mr. 
Brady, '-'- she does not leave this place without 
my consent ; ay, and, for all her crying, she 
does not want to leave it." 

Which last clause was hard to believe in 
the face of ]S'ettie's passionate entreaties for 
John to take her away, away at once. 

^^ And to think of how I trusted him," she 
moaned. " If the whole world had spoken ill 

28o The EarPs Promise, 

of him it could not have changed me. I 
thought I knew him better than anybody, and 
this is the end of it all, this is the end." 

And so she moaned on for some fifteen 
minutes, whilst John stood leaning against a 

In truth he did not know what to say. 
His heart was full of compassion for her, but 
he could not think of a word of comfort good 
to speak. She had done so evil a thing for 
herself that he did not see how any one could 
make a better of it, and so, whilst she, seated 
amongst the long rank grass, made her bitter 
lamentations, sobbed her tears, and bewailed 
her lot, John Eiley did, perhaps, the kindest 
and wisest thing possible under the circum- 
stances, he held his peace, he let her alone. 




At last General Riley appeared. 

" It is all right, I am thankful to say," he 
announced to his son, in a low tone. ^^He 
will marry her." 

^^ But I will not marry him ! " exclaimed the 
person most interested, in the matter. " I 
would rather work, beg, starve, die, than be 
thrust in this way on any man." 

" You ought to have thought of all this 
before you went away with him," said the 
General bluntly. '^We have made the best 
of a very bad business for you, and I must 
beg of you not to undo our work by any 

282 The EarPs Promise. 

temper, or airs, or romantic nonsense. There 
is nothing left for you but to marry him, and 
a good thing it is that he is willing to take 
you for his wife." 

Swiftly ^N'ettie rose from the ground and 
stood slight and erect before him. With one 
hand she swept back her hair, with the other 
she wiped the tears from her cheeks. Pretty 
she did not look, with her swollen eyelids and 
her face disfigured by grief and weeping ; but 
there was something in the helplessness of her 
defiance, in the hopelessness of her struggle, 
in the prospective misery of her fate, in the 
utter ruin she had wrought for herself, so 
young, that made both men feel heart-sick at 
thought of their own inability to put this 
terrible wrong right. 

^^ Are you going to turn against me?" she 
said, speakiog to John. ^'Are you going to 
say there is nothing left for me to do but 
marry a man who does not want me, whose 
wife I thought I was, or you would never 
have seen me back here ? Will you not help 
ms, John ? will you not take me away ? " 

Nettie at Bay. 283 

" God knoAvs, I^ettie, I would help you if I 
only knew bow. I would take you away if I 
knew where to take you, if I thought it 
would not make a worse scandal than there 
lias been, and put everything more wrong 
than it is already." 

'' I would go anywhere you told me," she 
went on pitifully. ^^I would go where no- 
body knew me, and I would be a good girl 
and work hard." 

^^You could not go anywhere that people 
would not know all about it after a little 
time," answered her cousin. ^^ There is only 
one thing for a girl who has made a mistake 
like yours, dear, to do, and that is, marry. 
What my father says is very true, you may be 
glad enough that Mr. Brady is willing to 
marry you." 

" Willing to marry me ? " ^N'ettie repeated 
drearily. ^^ Willing to marry me ? There go, 
both of you," she added, turning upon them 
in a very access of passion. ^' I never want to 
see you again. I never wish to hear the 
voice of one belonging to me. If you had 

284 The EarPs Proinise. 

been in trouble, such trouble, I would have 
helped jou ; but there is nobody who cares 
for my trouble, nobody, no, not one." 

'' Crying again, Annette," exclaimed Mr. 
Brady, who, having only waited behind 
General Eiley in order to refresh himself with a 
glass of whisky after their stormy interview, 
at this point joined the trio. ^^ What is the 
matter now ? " and he put his hand on her 
shoulder and would have drawn her towards 
him, but she shrank away, and looking at 
him through her tears, with . hot angry eyes, 
began, — 

" They say you are willing to marry me^ and 
expect me to be thankful. They never asked 
me if /was willing to marry 2/ow." 

" There is no compulsion," said Mr. Brady 
coolly ; ^^ you need not if you do not like." 

*' Like? and you say that to me who have 
given up everything for you ? " 

^M am ready to marry you within the 
hour," said Mr. Brady, with a shrug. ^^ Can 
I say fairer than that, gentlemen? If Miss 
Annette like teaching better than marrying. 

Nettie at Bay, 28, 

far be it from me to balk ber taste ; if sbe like 
me better tban teacbing, I am ready to stand 
to wbat I bave said, and make ber Mrs. 

" And you do not care," said Nettie, speak- 
ing witb dry, parcbed lips and cbeeks fever- 
flusbed, ^' you do not care, and you call your- 
selves men ? " 

'^We do care, Nettie," answered Jobn 
Eiley, ^' and it is because we are men tbat we 
bave tried to do all tbat lay in our power for 
you. It seems bard to you, and it is bard. 
You are angry witb Mr. Brady and witb us, 
but by-and-by you will tbank us for advising 
you to marry bim." 

'-'- 1 never was an advocate for coaxing dogs 
to eat mutton," remarked Mr. Brady, witb a 
sneer. '^ I bave offered to marr}'^ tbis inde- 
pendent young lady, and as sbe does not like 
to bave me, wby sbe bad better leave me, tbat 
is if sbe bas a clear idea as to wbere sbe means 
to go afterwards." 

^^I will go to Bay view, to Grace Moffat." 
^' I would, and let us know bow Mr. Moffat 
receives you," be laugbed. 

286 The EarPs Promise, 

^^ My aunt, my poor old aunt that I de- 
ceived, she would not turn me from her door," 
sobbed IS'ettie. 

^^ Perhaps not, you might see." 

^'Then, if all else fail," she flashed out, '' I 
will trust to Mrs. Hartley's charity. I will 
ask her to take me in and find me work. I 
am neither kith nor kin to her, and she would 
think it no disgrace to shelter a girl who had 
been deceived like me. She would get me a 
situation in some place, and I will put the sea 
between myself and all of you, and none of 
you will ever hear of me again." 

Mr. Brady looked at the General and his 
son. He beheld consternation written on 
their faces. 

At last Nettie was mistress of the position. 
She had mentioned the name of the only friend 
she knew who would be willing and able to 
save her, and the idea of the scandal which 
might ensue if she carried out her threat of 
appealing to Mrs. Hartley was as little agree- 
able to her relations as to the man who had 
flung a shadow over her life. 

Nettie at Bay. 287 

The girl was desperate, her pride had been 
humbled, her vanity hurt, her temper aroused, 
her love wounded, slighted. She meant to 
leave him, she did not want to be forced on any 
man. Mr. Brady suddenly awoke to a con- 
sciousness of both facts, and to a knowledge, 
also, that it would not suit him to lose 

Never again would he, could he, hold such 
another card in his hands as Nettie O'Hara. 
If he played so as to let her and her wrongs 
slip away from his control, if once he permitted 
her to make a party against him, and backed 
by Mrs. Hartley he knew she could, he vaguely 
comprehended he would have raised a devil 
whom he might find it difficult to lay. 

Besides, he was not yet tired of Nettie; 
her thoughts had not been his thoughts, 
her sole companionship had proved slightly 
monotonous ; she had put, unwittingly, a sort 
of restraint upon him ; but still, if Daniel 
Brady had ever an affection for a woman 
into which a higher kind of love entered, he 
felt it for Nettie O'Hara. 

The EarPs Promise. 

Had Nettie only been possessed of the 
world's wisdom in those days when sur- 
reptitiously she met him on the sea-shore, 
amongst the ruins of Ballyknock Abbey, and 
in the glens where, in her lonely childhood, 
she gathered wild strawberries, and made 
for herself swords and parasols and butter- 
fly cages of rushes ; had she, I say, then 
understood the ways of the world and the 
minds of men, she would never have gone 
off with Daniel Brady, trusting to his love 
to keep her safe, trusting to his gratitude 
to repay her for her faith. 

After all, affairs of the heart are best to 
be put on a ^^ commercial basis." 

When one man is, to use a vulgar ex- 
pression, ^^ chiselled " by another, the first 
dose of comfort administered by his friends 
is, '^But why had you no agreement?" 

If the unhappy wretch suggests that he 
thought he had to do with a man of honour, or 
an honest man, or a sincere Christian, he is at 
once informed, ^^It is well in money-matters 
to treat every man as if he were a rogue." 

Nettie at Bay. 289 

And in love ? j^ou ask. Well, in love it 
may be as well to advise young persons about 
to form engagements for life to look upon all 
charming suitors as possible villains. It is 
not an amiable trait in the character of man or 
woman that which leads him (or her) to make 
himself (or herself) beyond all things safe, but 
it is necessary, nevertheless. 

Suppose a man loses his money, or a 
woman her character, who shall recoup him, 
or her ? 

The colonies or the workhouse for the one ; 
the streets or that exhilarating place of abode, 
a Eefuge, for the other. 

And yet, perhaps, neither might be a greater 
fool nor a greater sinner than Amos Scott on 
the one hand, or Annette, commonly called 
Nettie O'Hara, on the other. 

Each had trusted to a promise. It is 
a foolish way some people have, as though 
there were something in the nature of a 
promise that made it as secure as a deed. 
Each found reason to repent that trust. 
^N'ettie's repentance had begun already. Dimly 

VOL. I. u 

290 The EarPs Promise, 

she understood there had been a time when 
her terms would have ruled the day, when her 
beauty and her birth might have asked what 
they liked from this far-seeing lover, and 
received a charmed yea for answer. 

But that time was gone and past. She 
could never dictate (legitimately) terms to 
any man again. She had lost caste, friends, 
and what was, perhaps, worse than either, 
her '^future." For even if she appealed to 
Mrs. Hartley and tried by that lady's help 
to begin her life over again, she never could 
wipe out the blot on her former life ; not 
all the waters of Lethe could wash out from 
her past that morning's work, when, trusting 
to one untrustworthy, she went off to seek her 

All this the girl dimly comprehended, 
grasped in a feeble passionate despair. No 
longer meek and demure, no longer smiling 
and self-contained, she stood there at bay, 
and for the moment, as has been said, she was 
mistress of the position. 

True she could help herself little, but she 

Nettie at Bay. 291 

could injure Mr. Brady much, and inflict, 
besides, considerable annoyance on lier re- 
latives. The bright hair might remain bright 
as ever, the blue eyes might look soft and 
sweet as before, but something had been 
aroused in Nettie O'Hara that might never 
slumber again. 

^' I want to leave Kingslough," she went on, 
pursuing her advantage, "and I will leave it. 
I wish never to see one of you more, and I 
never will if I can help it." 

'"But, Nettie, dear, only consider," began 
her cousin, while the General muttered, 
" Never heard such nonsense in all my life," 
but Mr. Brady, cutting across both their 
sentences, said, — 

" Will you kindly walk to the other end of 
the garden ? I should like to say a word or 
two to Mrs. Brady alone." 

She looked up at him quickly, and answered, 
as they complied, " I am not Mrs. Brady, and 
never will be." 

"You are," he persisted, "and you can't 
help yourself. You are my wife if I choose to 



The EarPs Promise. 

claim you, and I do. You are mine, and I 
mean to keep you. Little as you may tMnk 
it, I am too fond of you to let you go." 
^^ Fond ! " she repeated contemptuously. 

^^ Yes," he said, ^' fond. If I hadn't been, 
do you think I would have made the fool 
of myself I have ? What did I want with a 
wife ? Why should I have burdened myself 
with you if it was not for fondness' sake ? If 
you had not listened, you would have known 
nothing of this. Listeners, you know, never 
hear any good of themselves. You are married 
to me safe enough, but I wanted to bring 
down the confounded pride of your people 
a peg or two, and I wanted, also, to get some 
money out of them for you and myself if I 
could manage it. That is the whole truth 
of the business, so you need not fret any 

'^ I do not believe a word of it," was Nettie's 
candid reply, '^but I do not intend to fret, 
and I will go to Mrs. Hartley, and neither you 
nor all the Eileys in creation shall hinder 

Nettie at Bay. 293 

^^ I thoiight you loved me,'' lie said, with 
an impatience he tried to control, but could 

^' Thought I loved you ? " she echoed, 
" thought ! I never loved anything before 
e:jJcept a kitten, and I never mean to love 
anything again." 

" And yet you want to go and make a talk 
and a scandal over the place, and curse my 
life and your own." 

^' Make a talk and a scandal ? No. I only 
want to leave a man who could treat a girl 
as you have treated me. Did not I ask you if 
we were safely and truly married ? and did you 
not swear to me on the Bible that not all the 
bishops in England could make us more man 
and wife than we were ? " 

''Nor could they," commented Mr. Brady. 

" And," went on Nettie, '' when I asked 
you to give me some writing that I could show 
to Grace and my aunt, and John, if he wanted 
to see it, yon told me you would satisfy them 
all ; that no writing would be of so much use 
as your simple acknowledgment that I was 

294 TJie EarPs Promise, 

your wife ; and this is how you acknowledge 
me. Well, I deserved it, I suppose, but I 
did not deserve it from you." 

She ought not to have '' stood upon the 
order of going," but have gone, if she meant 
to leave him. Her words were bitter, and 
her anger keen, but neither was bitter nor 
keen enough to win the day when once she 
began to argue with a man to whom her heart 
still clung, whom she loved as she had '' never 
loved anything before." 

'' You did not deserve it," he answered, 
more quietly, for he saw she was wavering in 
her determination, and knew that now com- 
pliance was a mere question of time, " and 
I am sorry that for the sake of gratifying 
myself and annoying your upstart relations 
I placed you even for a moment in a false 
position. A man cannot say more than that 
he is sorry, can he ? Give me your hand, and 
say you forgive and forget." 

But she twitched her fingers out of his, and 
sobbed, ''It was cruel, it was cruel." 

**It was," he agreed, ''but remember, I 

Nettie at Bay, 295 

never intended you to know anything about 
the matter. You would not have heard had 
you not listened. Put yourself in my place. 
Had a couple of women treated you as those 
two men treated me, should you not have 
tried to serve them out if you could ? " 

^' And did not I stand up for you ? " she 
exclaimed. " Oh ! I would have been faithful 
to you till death, but you — " 

^^ Annette, as true as death you are my 
wife. You are so much my wife, that if 
you went away from me now you could not 
marry any one else, and neither could I." 

^'It does not matter," she said. ''I do not 
want to marry any one else, I only want 
to go away." 

"Well, then, go," he exclaimed. " I will 
never beg and pray a woman to stay with 
me against her will. You are married to me 
safe enough, but I am ready, for all that, 
to satisfy you and your people by going 
through the ceremony again if you like. If 
you do not like, go to your friend Mrs. Hartley, 
and see what she will do for you. Only re- 

296 The EarPs Promise, 

member one things if you elect to leave me 
now, never ask me to take you back again. 
I would not do it if you came covered with 

She was but a young thing, for all her 
defiance; for all her anger she was but as 
a reed in his hands, and so, when he gave 
her free leave to go, bade her spread her 
wings and return to that waste of waters 
from which she had flown to him, as to an 
ark of refuge, ^N'ettie covered her face and 
wept aloud. 

^^ There is nothing to cry about," he re- 
marked. '^ It is a matter for your own choice. 
Come now, be reasonable. What more could 
I do than I have done ? What more could I 
offer than I have offered ? " 

Still no answer. 

^'Annette, do not keep on fretting," he 
entreated ; '-^ try to put out of your mind every 
thing you heard me say to-day. I did not 
mean a word of it ; I did not, npon my honour. 
I was angry and offended, and spoke without 
thought, but you should not bear malice. 
You will forgive and forget, won't you ? " 

Nettie at Bay, 297 

" I will for — give,'' she said, after a pause, 
with a sob between each word. 

''And forget," he added, but Nettie shook 
her head doubtfully. 

'' I am not good at forgetting," she answered. 
Poor Mrs. Hartley, could she only have heard 
that reply, it would have made her hair stand 
on end ! 

'' I'll chance that," said Mr. Brady gene- 
rously, and he walked off to the spot where 
the General and his son stood, surveying a 
wilderness wilder than any their own neglected 
estate could show. 

'' We have made up that little difference," 
he said, with a smile and an easy familiarity 
which caused John Eiley to wince, '' and now 
I am ready to go through the rest of the busi- 
ness when and where you please. It is quite 
unnecessary, I may remark. At any rate we 
had better agree that it is, but that to satisfy 
your scruples I have agreed to ceremony 
number two. We may as well be married by 
the minister here, or at Woodbrook, which 
you please. It will make less talk than going 

298 The EarPs Pro7nise. 

to clmrch, and you can have as many wit- 
nesses as you like. In for a penny in for a 
pound. Of course Mrs. Brady remains here. 
If she is to remain in my house I do not 
intend her to leave it except in my company. 
Scandal about your relation could not hurt 
me, but scandal about my wife I won't have ; 
besides, you have no place to take her to;" 
and Mr. Daniel Brady laughed triumph- 

^' Come, gentlemen/' he went on, ''it is of 
no use making the worst of a bad business. 
You have checkmated me, I confess ; and yet, 
still, I bear no malice. Bad blood is an evil 
thing, especially amongst relations. Can I 
offer you any refreshment — no? Then, Mr. 
Eiley, I depend on your seeing the minister 
and arranging everything to your own satis- 
faction. You will shake hands with me now, 
I suppose," and he stretched out his hand ; 
but neither the General nor his son availed 
himself of the opportunity afforded. 

A dark look crossed Mr. Brady's face, as he 
said, in a tone of defiant mockery, — 

Nettie at Bay, igg 

^'At least, you can never say it was not 
offered to you twice in one day." 

^' I believe you to be a consummate black- 
guard," remarked John Riley bluntly; ''but 
still, for Kettle's sake, I am willing to shake 
hands and let bygones be bygones." 

"And you. General?" asked Mr. Brady. 
Without a word the General stretched out his 
hand. ''You won't repent it," remarked Mr. 
Brady consolingly. 

" I shall be back as soon as I can bring a 
minister," said John. Those were the days 
when marriage in Ireland was almost as easy 
as in Scotland. 

" The sooner the better," observed Mr. 
Brady ; and he stood watching the pair as 
they trotted slowly down the moss-covered 
avenue, muttering to himself, " I^ow they are 
reckoning me up ; " but he was mistaken, for 
the iron had entered too deeply into their souls 
to be lightly spoken ^of. 

One thing, however, was significant. A 
mile from Maryville a stream, bright and 
'sparkling, crossed the road. 

300 The EarPs Promise. 

'-'' Hold my horse for a minute, John," said 
the General ; and dismounting, he put the 
hand Daniel Brady had grasped into the rivu- 
let, and let the water flow over it. 

'^That is a good example, father," he re- 
marked laughing ; ^' and I think I will follow 
it;" then, as he remounted, he said, in a 
changed tone, " God help ^N'ettie," to which 
the General responded, *' Amen." 

!N"ext day, one of the Woodbrook servants 
having driven into town to execute various 
commissions, called on his way back at " The 
Library," for a book for Miss Lucy, who was 
the only reading sister of the Eiley family. 

After replying to such anxious inquiries 
concerning the health of Mrs. Eiley and the 
General, and the young ladies, and Mr. John, 
and an antiquated gardener, and still more 
antiquated nurse, who had lived with the 
family for a few generations, nominally as 
servants, but in reality as masters, Patrick, 
who all the time had been panting to open his 
budget, began, — 

^^ Ye '11 likely have heard the news, ladies ?" 

Nettie at Bay, 301 

'' That Miss I^ettie, I mean Mrs. Brady, has 
come home, Patrick. Oh, yes ! we knew that 
long ago," said Miss Healey, with dignity. 

^* It was not that same I meant, Miss ; they 
have been married again." 

^^ Married again !" exclaimed the two sisters 
v/ho could hear, in chorus; ^' bless us, wasn't 
one marriage enough?" 

^^ The Gineral would have it, miss — ma'am : 
says he to Brady, says he, ^ I don't like hole- 
and-corner weddings,' says he, 'and as you 
are an Irishman and have chosen an Irish 
wife, why, to make all sure, you had better 
marry her again, fair and above-board;' and 
so he did." 

'^ When where they married? who married 
them? who was present?" the sisters were lite- 
rally breathless with excitement, and shrieked 
out their questions, unheeding Miss Kate, 
whose inquiries of '^ What is he saying?" 
^'What is the matter?" ''Who is dead?" 
"Is it the General ? Dear, what can have 
happened ?" formed a running accompaniment 
to the trio which was being performed by Mrs. 
Larkins, Miss Healey, and Patrick. 

302 The EarPs Promise. 

^' 'Deed an' they were just married at Mary- 
ville, and Mr. McKenna married them; and 
Mr. John, and me, and Mr. McKenna' s clerk, 
were the witnesses." 

^'And were none of your ladies there?" 
inquired Mrs. Larkins. 

^^I do not think — asking your pardon, ma'am, 
for being so free — that it would be a very 
seemly thing for any of our ladies to be seen 
going to Maryville." 

From which remark it will be understood 
that Nettie's relations did not intend to idsit 
her, and that popular opinion already applauded 
their resolution. 

And so I^ettie's return and marriage made a 
nine days' talk, and caused a nine days' wonder, 
at the expiration of which time another event 
occurred, which made a greater talk still. 




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